The Final Launch of the Space Shuttle Programme

The final launch of the Space Shuttle Programme took place on July 8, 2011, as Atlantis blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The mission, STS-135, was a 13-day journey to deliver supplies and equipment to the International Space Station (ISS). Aboard Atlantis were four astronauts: Christopher Ferguson, Douglas Hurley, Sandra Magnus, and Rex Walheim. The launch marked the end of an era in space exploration, as the Space Shuttle Programme, which had been in operation for 30 years, came to a close. The Space Shuttle Programme had flown 135 missions, launched 19 satellites, and built the ISS. It had also carried over 300 astronauts and cosmonauts into space, and had conducted numerous spacewalks. The final launch of Atlantis was a bittersweet moment, marking the end of an iconic programme that had shaped the course of space exploration.