Space shuttle Atlantis is on its way to orbit for the last time.
Atlantis and an experienced crew of six blasted off Friday afternoon. More than 40,000 guests gathered at the Florida launch site, all of them eager to catch one of the few remaining shuttle flights. NASA said it was the biggest launch-day crowd in years.
The shuttle is bound for the International Space Station. It should reach the orbiting complex Sunday.
Atlantis is carrying a full shipment of space station gear.
Only two shuttle flights remain after this one. Discovery is due
to fly in September, followed by Endeavour in November. The fleet
is being retired so NASA can pursue more ambitious exploration.
This is the 32nd flight for Atlantis.
To comment, the following rules must be followed:
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.
Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide detailed information.
Viewers with disabilities can get assistance accessing this station's FCC Public Inspection File by contacting the station with the information listed below. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, 888-835-5322 (TTY), or email@example.com.