October 23, 2021

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The last voyage of NASA’s space shuttle: Looking back at Atlantis’ final mission 10 years later

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NASA’s final space shuttle mission, which launched 10 years ago this week, almost didn’t happen.

The mission on space shuttle Atlantis, called STS-135, launched on July 8, 2011. It was initially planned as a backup flight and not officially authorized in NASA’s budget until January 2011, just six months before launch. That tight schedule caused a bit of scrambling for Atlantis’ crew of four, not to mention the ground teams, but everything worked out well in the end, as the astronauts and some of their ground-based team leaders recalled in a NASA celebration of their flight on Thursday (July 8).

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