Crowd Greets Space Shuttle Atlantis

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Atlantis' final return from space at 5:57 a.m. EDT secured the space shuttle fleet's place in history and brought a close to the America's Space Shuttle Program.

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Space shuttle Atlantis is slowly towed from the Shuttle Landing Facility to an orbiter processing facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the last time. Atlantis' final return from space at 5:57 a.m. EDT secured the space shuttle fleet's place in history and brought a close to the America's Space Shuttle Program. There to welcome Atlantis home and an employee appreciation event are the thousands of workers who have processed, launched and landed the shuttles for more than three decades.

STS-135 delivered spare parts, equipment and supplies to the International Space Station. STS-135 was the 33rd and final flight for Atlantis, which has spent 307 days in space, orbited Earth 4,848 times and traveled 125,935,769 miles.

Credit: NASA/Frankie Martin

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Space.com Staff
Space.com Staff,

Space.com is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. We transport our visitors across the solar system and beyond through accessible, comprehensive coverage of the latest news and discoveries. For us, exploring space is as much about the journey as it is the destination.