Rocket Motors on Shuttle Atlantis
by Roger Wedegis
The last mission of Atlantis was STS-135, the last flight of the Shuttle program. This final flight, authorized in October 2010, brought additional supplies to the International Space Station and took advantage of the processing performed for the Launch on Need mission, which would only have been flown in the event that Endeavour's STS-134 crew required rescue. Atlantis launched successfully for the final time on 8 July 2011 at 16:29 UTC, landing at the John F. Kennedy Space Center on 21 July 2011 at 09:57 UTC.
By the end of its final mission, Atlantis had orbited the Earth 4,848 times, traveling nearly 126,000,000 mi (203,000,000 km) in space or more than 525 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon.
Atlantis was named after RV Atlantis, a two-masted sailing ship that operated as the primary research vessel for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution from 1930 to 1966