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STS-135

STS-135

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STS-135 was the final mission of the American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

 program. It used the orbiter Atlantis
Space Shuttle Atlantis
The Space Shuttle Atlantis is a retired Space Shuttle orbiter in the Space Shuttle fleet belonging to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration , the spaceflight and space exploration agency of the United States...

 and hardware originally processed for the STS-335 contingency mission, which was not flown. STS-135 launched on 8 July and was originally scheduled to land on 20 July 2011, but the mission was extended to 21 July 2011. The four person crew was the smallest of any shuttle mission since STS-6
STS-6
STS-6 was a NASA Space Shuttle mission conducted using Space Shuttle Challenger, carrying the first Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, TDRS-1, into orbit. Launched on 4 April 1983, STS-6 was the sixth shuttle mission and the first of the ten missions flown by Challenger...

 in April 1983. The mission's primary cargo was the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module
Multi-Purpose Logistics Module
A Multi-Purpose Logistics Module is a large pressurized container used on Space Shuttle missions to transfer cargo to and from the International Space Station . An MPLM was carried in the cargo bay of a Shuttle and berthed to the Unity or Harmony modules on the ISS. From there, supplies were...

 (MPLM) Raffaello
Raffaello MPLM
The Raffaello MPLM, also known as MPLM-2, was one of three Multi-Purpose Logistics Modules which were operated by NASA to transfer supplies and equipment to and from the International Space Station. Raffaello was used for three of eleven MPLM flights to the space station, with Leonardo being used...

 and a Lightweight Multi-Purpose Carrier (LMC). The flight of Raffaello marked the only time that Atlantis carried an MPLM.

Although the mission was authorized, it initially had no appropriation in the NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 budget, raising questions about whether the mission would fly. On 20 January 2011, program managers changed STS-335 to STS-135 on the flight manifest. This allowed for training and other mission specific preparations. On 13 February 2011, program managers told their workforce that STS-135 would fly regardless of the funding situation via a continuing resolution. Until this point, there had been no official references to the STS-135 mission in NASA official documentation for the general public.

During an address at the Marshall Space Flight Center
Marshall Space Flight Center
The George C. Marshall Space Flight Center is the U.S. government's civilian rocketry and spacecraft propulsion research center. The largest center of NASA, MSFC's first mission was developing the Saturn launch vehicles for the Apollo moon program...

 on 16 November 2010, NASA administrator Charles Bolden said that the agency needed to fly STS-135 to the station in 2011, due to possible delays in the development of commercial rockets and spacecraft designed to transport cargo to the ISS. "We are hoping to fly a third shuttle mission (in addition to STS-133
STS-133
STS-133 was the 133rd mission in NASA's Space Shuttle program; during the mission, Space Shuttle Discovery docked with the International Space Station. It was Discoverys 39th and final mission. The mission launched on 24 February 2011, and landed on 9 March 2011...

 and STS-134
STS-134
STS-134 was the penultimate mission of NASA's Space Shuttle program. The mission marked the 25th and final flight of . This flight delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and an ExPRESS Logistics Carrier to the International Space Station. Mark Kelly served as the mission commander...

) in June 2011, what everybody calls the launch-on-need mission... and that's really needed to [buy down] the risk for the development time for commercial cargo," Bolden said.

The mission was included in NASA's 2011 authorization, signed into law on 11 October 2010, but funding remained dependent on a subsequent appropriation bill. United Space Alliance
United Space Alliance
United Space Alliance is a spaceflight operations company. USA is a joint venture which was established in August 1995 as a Limited Liability Company , equally owned by Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The company is headquartered in Houston, Texas and, employed approximately 8,800 people in Texas,...

 signed a contract extension for this mission, along with STS-134
STS-134
STS-134 was the penultimate mission of NASA's Space Shuttle program. The mission marked the 25th and final flight of . This flight delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and an ExPRESS Logistics Carrier to the International Space Station. Mark Kelly served as the mission commander...

; the contract contained six one-month options with NASA in order to support continuing operations.

The US federal budget approved in mid-April 2011 called for $5.5 billion for NASA's space operations division, including the space shuttle and space station programs. According to NASA, the budget running through 30 September 2011 ended all concerns about funding the STS-135 mission.

Crew


NASA announced the STS-335/135 crew on 14 September 2010. Only four astronauts were assigned to this mission, versus the normal six or seven, because there were no other Space Shuttles available for a rescue following the retirement of Discovery and Endeavour. If the shuttle was seriously damaged in orbit, the crew would have moved into the International Space Station and returned, one at a time over the course of a year, in Russian Soyuz capsules. All STS-135 crew members were custom-fitted for a Russian Sokol space suit
Sokol space suit
The Sokol space suit is a type of Russian space suit, worn by all who fly on the Soyuz spacecraft. It was introduced in 1973 and is still used . The Sokol is described by its makers as a rescue suit, and it is not capable of being used outside the spacecraft in a spacewalk or extra-vehicular...

 and molded Soyuz seat liner for this possibility. The reduced crew size also allowed the mission to maximize the payload carried to the ISS. It was the only time that a Shuttle crew of four flew to the International Space Station
International Space Station
The International Space Station is a habitable, artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS follows the Salyut, Almaz, Cosmos, Skylab, and Mir space stations, as the 11th space station launched, not including the Genesis I and II prototypes...

. The last shuttle mission to fly with just four crew members occurred 28 years before: STS-6
STS-6
STS-6 was a NASA Space Shuttle mission conducted using Space Shuttle Challenger, carrying the first Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, TDRS-1, into orbit. Launched on 4 April 1983, STS-6 was the sixth shuttle mission and the first of the ten missions flown by Challenger...

 on 4 April 1983 aboard .

Crew seating

Seat Launch Landing
Seats 1–4 are on the Flight Deck. Seats 5–7 are on the Middeck.
S1 Chris Ferguson Chris Ferguson
S2 Douglas Hurley Douglas Hurley
S3 Sandra Magnus Sandra Magnus
S4 Rex Walheim Rex Walheim

Funding


With support from both the House of Representatives and the Senate, the fate of STS-135 ultimately depended on whether lawmakers could agree to fund converting the mission from launch-on-need to an actual flight.

On 15 July 2010, a U.S. Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 committee passed the 2010 NASA reauthorization bill, authored by Senator Bill Nelson
Bill Nelson
Clarence William "Bill" Nelson is the senior United States Senator from the state of Florida and a member of the Democratic Party. He is a former U.S. Representative and former Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner of Florida...

, to direct NASA to fly an extra space shuttle mission (STS-135) pending a review of safety concerns. The bill still needed the approval of the full Senate. A draft NASA reauthorization bill considered by the House Science & Technology Committee did not provide for an extra shuttle mission. On 22 July 2010 U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas
Suzanne Kosmas
Suzanne M. Kosmas is the former U.S. Representative for , serving from 2009 until 2011. She is a member of the Democratic Party...

, during a meeting of the House Science Committee, successfully amended the House version of the bill to add an additional shuttle mission to the manifest.

On 5 August 2010, the U.S. Senate passed its version of the NASA reauthorization bill just before lawmakers left for the traditional August recess. On 20 August 2010, NASA managers approved STS-135 mission planning targeting a 28 June 2011 launch. On 29 September 2010 the U.S. House approved the Senate-passed bill on a 304–118 vote. The bill, approved by the U.S. Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

, went to President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 for his signature.

On 11 October 2010, President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 signed the legislation into law, allowing NASA to move forward with STS-135, though without specific funding. Generally the average cost of launching space shuttle is about $450 million per mission.

On 20 January 2011, STS-135's designation was officially changed from STS-335.

On 14 February 2011, NASA managers announced that STS-135 would fly regardless of the funding situation in Congress.

Mission parameters

  • Mass:
    • Total liftoff weight: 4521143 lbs
    • Orbiter liftoff weight: 266090 lbs
    • Orbiter landing weight: 226375 lbs
    • Payload weight: 28418 lbs
  • Perigee: TBD
  • Apogee: TBD
  • Inclination: 51.6°
  • Period: 91 minutes

Mission milestones


The mission marked:
  • 166th NASA manned space flight
  • 135th shuttle mission since STS-1
    STS-1
    STS-1 was the first orbital flight of NASA's Space Shuttle program. Space Shuttle Columbia launched on 12 April 1981, and returned to Earth on 14 April, having orbited the Earth 37 times during the 54.5-hour mission. It was the first American manned space flight since the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project...

  • 33rd flight of Atlantis
  • 3rd shuttle flight in 2011
  • 37th shuttle mission to the ISS
  • 110th post-Challenger
    Space Shuttle Challenger disaster
    The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986, when Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members. The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of central Florida at 11:38 am EST...

    mission
  • 22nd post-Columbia
    Space Shuttle Columbia disaster
    The Space Shuttle Columbia disaster occurred on February 1, 2003, when shortly before it was scheduled to conclude its 28th mission, STS-107, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas and Louisiana during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, resulting in the death of all seven crew members...

    mission
  • 100th day launch
  • 133rd landing overall, 78th at KSC, 26th night landing, 20th night landing at KSC

Payload


STS-135 delivered supplies and equipment to provision the space station through 2012, following the end of NASA's space shuttle program. Since the ISS program is likely to be extended to 2020, the station will likely require more spare supplies after the shuttle retires. A shuttle extension beyond STS-135 would have allowed the crew to maintain the completed U.S. orbital segment, relying on the shuttle, but an ISS extension was never intended to be a guaranteed shuttle program extension, and the shuttle program officially ended after STS-135. Therefore, the more delivery of extra supplies for the station, the better.

Multi-Purpose Logistics Module


Multi-Purpose Logistics Module
Multi-Purpose Logistics Module
A Multi-Purpose Logistics Module is a large pressurized container used on Space Shuttle missions to transfer cargo to and from the International Space Station . An MPLM was carried in the cargo bay of a Shuttle and berthed to the Unity or Harmony modules on the ISS. From there, supplies were...

 (MPLM) Raffaello
Raffaello MPLM
The Raffaello MPLM, also known as MPLM-2, was one of three Multi-Purpose Logistics Modules which were operated by NASA to transfer supplies and equipment to and from the International Space Station. Raffaello was used for three of eleven MPLM flights to the space station, with Leonardo being used...

 made up the majority of the payload. This was Raffaello's fourth trip to the Space Station since 2001 and the 12th use of an MPLM, including the delivery of the PMM Leonardo. Unlike previous MPLM missions that delivered large compartments and devices to outfit the space station laboratories, STS-135 delivered only bags and supply containers. The MPLM was filled with 16 resupply racks, which is the maximum that it could handle. Eight Resupply Stowage Platforms (RSPs), two International Standard Payload Racks (ISPs), six Resupply Stowage Racks (RSRs) and one Zero-G Stowage Rack (ZSR), which sits above another rack during transport.

On flight day 4, Raffaello was lifted out of Atlantis's payload bay using the station's Canadarm2. It was berthed to nadir port (Earth-facing) of the Harmony node. After completing the cargo transfers to the Space Station, Raffaello was stuffed with almost 5700 pounds of unneeded equipment and trash from the station to be brought back to Earth. On flight day 11, the MPLM was detached from Harmony and was secured in the cargo bay of the shuttle.

Lightweight Multi-Purpose Carrier


The Lightweight Multi-Purpose Carrier (LMC) was also carried on this mission. The External Thermal Cooling System (ETCS) Pump Module (PM) stored on ESP-2, which failed and was replaced on orbit in August 2010, rode home on the LMC so that a failure analysis can be performed on the ground. The Robotic Refueling Mission rode up to the station on the underside of the LMC and was placed onto the ELC-4.

Robotic Refueling Mission


Atlantis carried the Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) developed by the Satellite Servicing Capabilities project at the Goddard Space Flight Center
Goddard Space Flight Center
The Goddard Space Flight Center is a major NASA space research laboratory established on May 1, 1959 as NASA's first space flight center. GSFC employs approximately 10,000 civil servants and contractors, and is located approximately northeast of Washington, D.C. in Greenbelt, Maryland, USA. GSFC,...

 (GSFC). It planned to demonstrate the technology and tools to refuel satellites in orbit by robotic means. After the proof of concept, the long-term goal of NASA is to transfer the technology to the commercial sector.

RRM included four tools, each with electronics and two cameras and lights. Additionally, it had pumps and controllers and electrical systems such as electrical valves and sensors.

The RRM payload was transported to the Kennedy Space Center in early March 2011, where the GSFC team performed the final preparations for space flight.
Once up on the International Space Station, RRM will be installed into the ELC-4. The Dextre robot will be used in 2012 and 2013 during the refueling demonstration experiments.

Picosatellite Solar Cell Testbed 2



Space Shuttle Atlantis carried a miniaturised satellite also known as PSSC-2, or Picosatellite Solar Cell Testbed 2 into orbit. PSSC-2 was successfully deployed from the shuttle's cargo bay on flight day 13.

TriDAR


This mission is the third flight of the TriDAR
TriDAR
TriDAR, or Triangulation and LIDAR Automated Rendezvous and Docking, is a relative navigation vision system developed by Neptec Design Group and funded by the Canadian Space Agency and NASA. It provides guidance information that can be used to guide an unmanned vehicle during rendezvous and...

 sensor package designated DTO-701A (Detailed Test Objective), a 3D dual-sensing laser camera, intended for potential use as an autonomous rendezvous and docking sensor. It was developed by Neptec Design Group
Neptec Design Group
Neptec Design Group is an Ottawa based, Canadian vision systems company, providing machine vision solutions for space, industrial, and military applications. Privately owned and founded in 1990, Neptec is a NASA prime contractor, supplying operational systems to both the Space Shuttle and...

 and funded by NASA and the Canadian Space Agency. Previously TriDAR was flown twice on STS-128
STS-128
-Crew notes:Nicole Stott was originally scheduled to return aboard Soyuz TMA-15, but a change in the flight plan was made due to the possible flight delays in future shuttle missions, which may extend Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk's mission beyond the six-month duration preferred for station...

 and STS-131
STS-131
STS-131 was a NASA Space Shuttle mission to the International Space Station . launched on 5 April 2010 at 6:22 am from Kennedy Space Center's launch pad 39A, and landed at 9:08 am on 20 April 2010 on runway 33 at the Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility...

, aboard Space Shuttle Discovery. TriDAR provides guidance information that can be used for rendezvous and docking operations in orbit, planetary landings and vehicle inspection/navigation of unmanned rovers. TriDAR does not rely on any reference markers, such as reflectors, positioned on the target spacecraft. To achieve this, it relies on a laser based 3D sensor and a thermal imager. Geometric information contained in successive 3D images is matched against the known shape of the target object to calculate its position and orientation in real-time.

The sensor is installed on the exterior airlock truss next to a Trajectory Control System (TCS) sensor. The TriDAR hardware was installed in Atlantis's Payload Bay on 6 April 2011. On STS-135 TriDAR was used to demonstrate technology for autonomous rendezvous and docking in orbit. The crew had a laptop set up to display the information that is acquired by the system, however it was not used to provide information to the Shuttle's TCS.

Down-mass payload


The failed ammonia Pump Module that was replaced in August 2010 was returned inside Atlantis's payload bay, on the upper side of the LMC. Also, a problematic Common Cabin Air Assembly (CCAA) Heat Exchanger (HX) was expected to be returned inside the MPLM
Multi-Purpose Logistics Module
A Multi-Purpose Logistics Module is a large pressurized container used on Space Shuttle missions to transfer cargo to and from the International Space Station . An MPLM was carried in the cargo bay of a Shuttle and berthed to the Unity or Harmony modules on the ISS. From there, supplies were...

. The shuttle also brought back material, including experiments, in its middeck lockers. Since STS-135 only had four crew members, astronauts did not occupy the middeck and as a result compared to previous shuttle missions to the Space Station, it had additional storage space.




Other supplies


An iPhone
IPhone
The iPhone is a line of Internet and multimedia-enabled smartphones marketed by Apple Inc. The first iPhone was unveiled by Steve Jobs, then CEO of Apple, on January 9, 2007, and released on June 29, 2007...

 was used by astronauts to log experiments and will be left on the Space Station for future use. Two Nexus S
Nexus S
The Nexus S is a smartphone co-developed by Google and Samsung and manufactured by Samsung Electronics. It was the first smartphone to use the Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" operating system, and the first Android device to support Near Field Communication in both hardware and software...

's will be installed inside three Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites
SPHERES
The Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient Experimental Satellites experiment is a testbed consisting of three miniaturized satellites that can operate in a variety of environments, including inside the International Space Station...

 (SPHERES) to allow the crew to pilot them aboard the ISS.

Shuttle processing


External Tank
Space Shuttle external tank
A Space Shuttle External Tank is the component of the Space Shuttle launch vehicle that contains the liquid hydrogen fuel and liquid oxygen oxidizer. During lift-off and ascent it supplies the fuel and oxidizer under pressure to the three Space Shuttle Main Engines in the orbiter...

 138 (ET-138) was produced at the Michoud Assembly Facility
Michoud Assembly Facility
The Michoud Assembly Facility is an 832-acre site owned by NASA and located in New Orleans East, a large district within the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. Organizationally, it is part of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center...

 (MAF) in New Orleans and arrived at the Kennedy Space Center on the Pegasus barge. After offloading, the tank was transported into a checkout cell inside the VAB on 14 July 2010.

NASA initially planned for STS-134
STS-134
STS-134 was the penultimate mission of NASA's Space Shuttle program. The mission marked the 25th and final flight of . This flight delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and an ExPRESS Logistics Carrier to the International Space Station. Mark Kelly served as the mission commander...

 (Endeavour) to fly with the newer ET-138 and for the LON STS-335 (Atlantis) mission to utilize the refurbished ET-122 only in the event that a rescue of Endeavours crew were required. During Hurricane Katrina, ET-122 was damaged at the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans and while the tank was certified as completely flight-worthy after its repairs were completed, NASA management ruled that ET-122 posed a slightly higher risk of losing foam from the repaired areas and therefore assigned it to the STS-335 mission that would likely never fly. However, once it was decided to fly Atlantis on a full STS-135 mission, the tank assignments were swapped so that in the event STS-134 (Endeavour) were to suffer damage from ET-122, Atlantis with the newer and less risky ET-138 would be poised to rescue Endeavours crew.

In early December 2010, ground technicians installed the main engines on Atlantis. The Shuttle received the center engine on 7 December 2010, followed by the lower-right engine and the lower-left on 8 and 9 December 2010 respectively inside Orbiter Processing Facility
Orbiter Processing Facility
An Orbiter Processing Facility was one of three hangars where U.S. space shuttle orbiters underwent maintenance between flights. All three such facilities, OPF-1, OPF-2 and OPF-3, were located at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at Launch Complex 39.They were located west of the Vehicle...

 (OPF-1). The event marked the last set of main engines ever to be installed on a space shuttle.

Stacking operations of the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs) for the mission commenced in the evening hours of 29 March 2011. Technicians inside the VAB, lifted the left-aft segment from the handling crate and carefully maneuvered into High Bay No. 1 and finally onto the mobile launch platform. The booster stacking was completed in mid April. The completed boosters had a mixture of refurbished and unflown elements (11 sections on each booster). For example, the forward dome for the right-hand booster is new, while the upper cylinder on the left booster flew with STS-1
STS-1
STS-1 was the first orbital flight of NASA's Space Shuttle program. Space Shuttle Columbia launched on 12 April 1981, and returned to Earth on 14 April, having orbited the Earth 37 times during the 54.5-hour mission. It was the first American manned space flight since the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project...

 – the historic maiden flight of Space Shuttle Columbia
Space Shuttle Columbia
Space Shuttle Columbia was the first spaceworthy Space Shuttle in NASA's orbital fleet. First launched on the STS-1 mission, the first of the Space Shuttle program, it completed 27 missions before being destroyed during re-entry on February 1, 2003 near the end of its 28th, STS-107. All seven crew...

. (For detailed information on the STS-135 boosters, see)

After completing the assembly process, the ET-138 was mated to the SRBs on 25 April.

Visit by President Obama's family


President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

, his wife Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is the wife of the 44th and incumbent President of the United States, Barack Obama, and is the first African-American First Lady of the United States...

, and their daughters, Malia and Sasha, viewed Atlantis at the Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF-1) on their visit to the Kennedy Space Center on 29 April 2011. The president's family missed the launch of Endeavour on the STS-134 mission, as the first launch attempt was scrubbed due to problems with two heaters on one of Endeavours auxiliary power units (APUs).

During their tour of the Orbiter Processing Facility, the president's family was accompanied by United Space Alliance tile technician Terry White and astronaut Janet Kavandi. Standing under the wings of space shuttle Atlantis, White gave the president and his family an informal tutorial.

Rollover



On the early morning of 17 May 2011, Space Shuttle Atlantis departed OPF-1 and headed to the VAB for mating operations with ET-138. The short trip took longer than normal and allowed the shuttle workers to pose for a photo opportunity with the shuttle. The four STS-135 astronauts were also present to greet the workers and representatives of the media. Atlantis remained on the Orbiter Transport System overnight, as opposed to heading over to High Bay 1 on the same day.

Inside the VAB transfer aisle, lifting operations to rotate Atlantis vertically commenced on 18 May 2011. The crane that hoisted the shuttle placed it into the adjacent high bay. Atlantis was next lowered to meet up with the external tank and the two solid rocket boosters. The mating operations were completed on 19 May 2011. On the same day, NASA officially announced 8 July 2011 as the intended launch date of the STS-135 mission.

Rollout


Atlantis was rolled out to Launch Pad 39A on 1 June. The first motion of Atlantis out of the Vehicle Assembly Building began at 20:42 EDT on 31 May 2011. Due to a minor hydraulic leak on a corner valve for the jacking and elevation system on the crawler-transporter, the move was delayed by 40 minutes. After the 3.4 miles (5.5 km) journey, the shuttle was secured on the launch pad at 03:29 EDT on 1 June 2011.

Large crowds, including the families of NASA's workforce, were present during the rollout. The STS-135 crew was also at the Kennedy Space Center to witness the last-ever rollout of a Space Shuttle. The crew participated in an informal Question & Answer session with news media, which was aired live on NASA TV
NASA TV
NASA TV is the television service of the United States government agency NASA. NASA TV is broadcast by satellite with a simulcast over the Internet. Local cable television systems across the U.S. and amateur television repeaters may carry NASA TV at their discretion, as NASA-created content is...

. While Atlantis was rolled out to the launch pad, Endeavour was landing a few miles away at the Shuttle Landing Facility, touching down on Kennedy Space Center's Runway 15 at 02:34 EDT after completing its final mission, STS-134.




External tank fueling test


Atlantis's External Tank for the STS-135 mission was put through a Tanking Test on 15 June 2011 to check the health of the tank's stringers. It was slightly delayed due to a lightning storm which passed over the Kennedy Space Center. During the test, technicians detected a hydrogen fuel valve leak in Atlantis's main engine No. 3 as it recorded temperatures below normal levels. The leaking Hydrogen valve was replaced on 21 June.

On 18 June, engineers also commenced X-ray inspections to verify the performance of the radius block doublers that were installed over the top of the stringers. The stringers form the backbone of ET-138's central "intertank" compartment that separates the upper liquid Oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

 tank from the larger liquid Hydrogen
Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

 tank below. The installation of the doublers on ET-138, was ordered after engineers found stringer cracks in the tank used for shuttle Discovery's STS-133
STS-133
STS-133 was the 133rd mission in NASA's Space Shuttle program; during the mission, Space Shuttle Discovery docked with the International Space Station. It was Discoverys 39th and final mission. The mission launched on 24 February 2011, and landed on 9 March 2011...

 mission. Technicians finished all X-ray scans of the stringers on 24 June, well ahead of schedule. After analyzing the results, they found no issues.

Payload canister



The STS-135 payload canister's move to Launch Pad 39A began in the night of 16 June. The canister's lifting up of the pad structure to place it into the cleanroom happened on the next day. Technicians at the launch pad closed the Rotating Service Structure (RSS) back around Atlantis to gain access to the orbiter's payload bay. The payload bay doors were opened on the night of 18 June and the cargo was installed into the shuttle's payload bay on 20 June.

Terminal countdown demonstration test


The STS-135 crew traveled to Kennedy Space Center arriving in T-38 jets just after 17:30 EDT on 20 June to take part in the countdown dress rehearsal and emergency training drills. After the arrival, the four astronauts spoke to reporters at the runway and acknowledged the historic nature of the final shuttle mission. "We're incredibly proud to represent the final flight," noted the commander, Chris Ferguson. During the training, the crew spent time learning pad 39A evacuation procedures and test-drove an armored tank available for the astronauts to escape the area. They also boarded Atlantis for a full countdown simulation on 23 June.

Launch attempts



8 July (Flight Day 1 – Launch)


The launch day was threatened by unfavorable weather leaving only a 30% chance of a launch occurring; this changed an hour before launch to 60% chance of launch. Satisfactory weather appeared an hour before the launch window allowing the mission to proceed as planned. Launch director Mike Leinbach conducted the final series of GO/NO GO polls to verify the launch readiness. Shuttle Launch Integration Manager Michael P. Moses also issued a waiver for return to landing site (RTLS) weather. Later at the post-launch news conference, Mr. Moses explained that his decision was based on the fact although a few showers that were popping up within the 20 nautical miles (37 km) radius from the Shuttle Landing Facility at RTLS landing were a launch constraint, the showers would have been cleared by the time of a RTLS landing (if it did) 35 minutes later.

At the end of the poll Mr. Leinbach told the crew "Good luck to you and your crew on the final flight of this true American icon. Good luck, godspeed and have a little fun up there" to which commander Chris Ferguson replied "Thanks to you and your team Mike, We're completing a chapter of a journey that will never end. The crew of Atlantis is ready to launch".

At T-31 seconds, just before Atlantis's computers were supposed to take control of the flight, the launch countdown clock stopped. This was because of a lack of an indication that the Gaseous Oxygen Vent Arm had retracted and properly latched, a problem that had never occurred during previous launches in the program's history. Soon the launch team was able to verify the Vent Arm's position with the help of a closed circuit camera, and the countdown clock resumed.

The final flight of Space Shuttle Atlantis launched from the Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center
The John F. Kennedy Space Center is the NASA installation that has been the launch site for every United States human space flight since 1968. Although such flights are currently on hiatus, KSC continues to manage and operate unmanned rocket launch facilities for America's civilian space program...

 on 8 July at 11:29:03.9 EDT with launch commentator George Diller
George Diller
George Diller is a specialist in the NASA public affairs office at the Kennedy Space Center. He provides public announcements and commentary before and during launches from the Kennedy Space Center, including the space shuttle and unmanned spacecraft such as the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity...

 saying, "Two, one, zero and liftoff! The final liftoff of Atlantis – on the shoulders of the space shuttle, America will continue the dream". The launch was cheered by a crowd of nearly one million inside the Kennedy Space Center and in the surrounding area. Powered flight conformed to the standard timeline, with the two boosters separating from the ET after two minutes and five seconds, and the main engine cutoff (MECO) occurring at 15:37:28 GMT at a Mission Elapsed Time (MET) of 8 minutes and 24 seconds. The external tank, ET-138, separated from the shuttle at 15:37:49 GMT. A modification made in the ET-138 camera allowed it to beam back video of the tank's disintegration in the atmosphere. A further boost from the Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) engines (the OMS-1 burn) was not required due to the nominal MECO, and Atlantis settled into an initial 225 x 58 km roughly 51.6 degree orbit. The crew performed several course correction actions on Flight Day 1. These included the 64 seconds OMS-2 burn which pushed Atlantis into a 230 x 158 km orbit and the NC-1 engine firing for 94 seconds to adjust the shuttle's orbital path to match with the Space Station. The NC-1 firing altered the shuttle's velocity by about 144.7 ft/s (44.1 m/s).

NASA held a post-launch news conference at 12:10 CDT with Bill Gerstenmaier, Robert Cabana
Robert D. Cabana
Robert Donald Cabana is the director of NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center, a NASA astronaut, and a veteran of four Space Shuttle flights. He is also a former Naval Flight Officer and Naval Aviator in the United States Marine Corps.-Personal:...

 (director of NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center), Mike Moses and Mike Leinbach.

After opening the shuttle's payload bay doors at 17:03:20 GMT, the crew began configuring Atlantis for on-orbit operations. The Ku-band
Ku band
The Kμ band is a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum in the microwave range of frequencies. This symbol refers to —in other words, the band directly below the K-band...

 antenna was deployed and the self-test was completed with satisfactory results. CAPCOM astronaut Barry Wilmore radioed the crew from mission control in Houston, reporting that a preliminary analysis found no signs of any significant debris or impact damage during the ascent. Commander Ferguson and Pilot Hurley also powered up the Shuttle's Robotic Arm and checked its functions ahead of next day's planned thermal protection survey.


9 July (Flight Day 2 – TPS Survey)



A crowd at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center greeted the crew with a unique Good Morning call. "Good morning Atlantis, the Marshall Space Flight Center hopes you enjoyed your ride to orbit. We wish you a successful mission and a safe return home," the workers said in a recorded video message.

The main objective of the day was to inspect Atlantis's thermal protection system, using the shuttle's robotic arm and the Orbiter Boom Sensor System (OBSS) to look for any signs of launch damage. To do so, Commander Ferguson, Pilot Hurley and Mission Specialist Magnus used the shuttle's robotic arm and the OBSS to get a close up look at reinforced carbon–carbon wing leading edges and the nose cap of the shuttle. The robotic arm grappled the OBSS at 6:58 a.m. EDT. After raising out the arm-boom assembly, the crew activated the camera and laser sensor package on the boom to first scan the starboard wing. The nose cap was surveyed next followed by the port wing. The gathered visual and electronic data were downlinked during numerous Ku band communication opportunities to the ground. With imagery on their hand, experts began to review the data. The heat shield survey started around 11:00 UTC, was wrapped about five hours later. In his NASA TV commentary, NASA Public Affairs Officer, Rob Navias, said that most of the time, the crew worked ahead of schedule opting to take meals while working. The crew received high praise for their efficient work from the Mission Control Houston including CAPCOM astronaut Stephen Robinson
Stephen Robinson
Stephen Kern Robinson is a NASA astronaut. He was born October 26, 1955, in Sacramento, California.He enjoys flying, antique aircraft, swimming, canoeing, hiking, music, art, and stereo photography. He plays lead guitar in Max Q, a rock and roll band...

 who communicated with them during the survey.

While the TPS survey was under way, Mission Specialist Walheim spent much of his afternoon on Atlantis's middeck. He worked to prepare items carried into orbit there for transfer to the space station. Later in the day, Walheim worked with Hurley to check out the rendezvous tools that will be used during Atlantis's docking with the International Space Station on Flight Day 3. Meanwhile, Ferguson and Magnus installed the center-line camera in the window of the shuttle's hatch for a view that will help them align Atlantis with the space station.

The NC2 and NC3 course correction burns were also performed during Flight Day 2 to change the flight path of Atlantis en route to the Space Station. The NC3 maneuver lasted seven seconds and changed the shuttle's velocity by about 1.5 foot per second (0.4572 m/s). On the ISS side, Expedition 28 Crew completed the pressurization of Pressurized Mating Adapter (PMA-2) located at the forward docking port of the Harmony module ahead of docking. Crew members Fossum, Volkov and Furukawa also held a meeting with the ground imagery experts to discuss the planned photography shoot during Atlantis's rendezvous pitch maneuver
Rendezvous pitch maneuver
The R-bar pitch maneuver , popularly called the rendezvous pitch maneuver, was a maneuver performed by the space shuttle as it rendezvoused with the International Space Station prior to docking. The shuttle performed a backflip that exposed its heat-shield to the crew of the ISS that made...

 (RPM).

During the mission Status Briefing from the Johnson Space Flight Center (JSC), shuttle flight director Kwatsi Alibaruho
Kwatsi Alibaruho
Kwatsi Alibaruho is a Flight Director for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He is the first African American NASA Flight Director....

 said that Atlantis was off to one of the smoothest starts of a mission in the 30-year history of NASA's shuttle program. He told reporters, "I think this is certainly one of the better starts that we have seen".

10 July (Flight Day 3 – Docking)



The STS-135 crew began their day at 07:29 UTC and prepared to dock with the ISS. The crew encountered a minor problem when Atlantis's General Purpose Computer (GPC3) failed. However, this held no impacts for the rendezvous and docking operations as two GPCs proved sufficient.

Commander Chris Ferguson and pilot Douglas Hurley performed a series of rendezvous burns (NH, NC4, NCC, MC1-4 and TI) to boost the orbit of Atlantis to match with that of the ISS. At 11:40 UTC, with about 9 miles (14 km) separating the shuttle and the ISS, Ferguson performed the final 12-second terminal initiation (TI) burn, firing the left OMS engine of Atlantis at 12:29 UTC. It placed the shuttle 1000 feet (304.8 m) below the Space Station at 13:51 UTC. By 13:26 UTC, with Ferguson flying Atlantis from the aft flight deck, the shuttle positioned 600 feet (182.9 m) beneath the ISS and began the 360-degree flip rendezvous pitch maneuver (RPM). As the shuttle's underside rotated into view, three of the Expedition 28
Expedition 28
Expedition 28 was the 28th long-duration expedition to the International Space Station, starting on 23 May 2011 with the departure of the members of Expedition 27. The first three members of the expedition arrived on the ISS aboard the Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft on 4 April 2011, and were joined on 9...

 ISS crew members – Sergei Volkov, Mike Fossum and Satoshi Furukawa using cameras with 1000 mm, 800 mm and 400 mm lenses, respectively photographed Atlantis's under belly for 90 seconds, as part of post-launch inspections of the thermal protection system. The photos were being sent to mission control in Houston to be evaluated by experts on the ground to look for any damage.

Atlantis docked with the ISS Pressurized Mating Adapter-2 at 15:07 UTC as the two orbited 220 miles (350 km) over the South Pacific Ocean east of New Zealand. This was Atlantis's 19th docking to a Space Station. "Houston, station, Atlantis, capture confirmed and we see free drift," radioed Hurley, confirming the successful docking. In reply, "Atlantis arriving," said Ron Garan after the ceremonial ringing of the station's bell. "Welcome to the International Space Station for the last time". A series of leak checks were done on both sides of the hatches, before they were opened at 16:47 UTC. Shortly afterwards, the shuttle crew floated into the station's Harmony module at 16:55 UTC. After a brief welcoming ceremony by the station crew, Atlantis's astronauts received the standard station safety briefing.

The crew then got to work with Ferguson and Hurley using the shuttle arm to take its OBSS from the station's Canadarm2 operated by Garan and Furukawa. The station arm had plucked the OBSS from its stowage position on the shuttle cargo bay sill. The handoff was to prepare to use the boom for any shuttle heat shield late inspections if required. Magnus worked with TV setup and Walheim transferred spacewalk gear.

During Flight Day 3, flight controllers began monitoring reports from the Department of Defense's U.S. Strategic Command that an orbital debris piece of the Russian satellite COSMOS 375 may come near the station and shuttle complex about noon the next day. The team updated tracking information following the docking and determined that no course correction maneuver was necessary.


11 July (Flight Day 4 – MPLM installation)



The main objective of Flight Day 4 was to install the Raffaello MPLM on the nadir port of Harmony module of the ISS. The crew started their day in space at 7:02 UTC. Mission Specialist Sandra Magnus, along with Pilot Doug Hurley, was at the controls of the Canadarm2 beginning at 9:09 UTC to remove the Raffaello module from the payload bay of Atlantis. The two installed the MPLM on the Harmony node at 10:46 UTC. After leak checks, hatches between Raffaello and the ISS were opened before noon on the day.

Because Atlantis launched on time with a full load of onboard consumables for its electricity-generating fuel cells, and due to power saving operations employed during the first three days, on Flight Day 4, NASA's managers approved a one-day mission extension. According to NASA, the mission was extended primarily to allow the crew spend more time on cargo transfers. CAPCOM Megan McArthur also notified commander Chris Ferguson that the Mission Management Team determined had decided not to do a Focused Inspection of the Atlantis's heat shield. The Damage Assessment Team had only found one tile ding along with four areas of minor damage to insulating blankets, said chairman Leroy Cain during the day's Mission Management Briefing aired on NASA TV.

Shortly before the end of their workday, STS-135 crew members and Expedition 28 crew members Ron Garan, Mike Fossum and Satoshi Furuakawa met for about an hour to review procedures for the next day's spacewalk.


12 July (Flight Day 5 – Station spacewalk)



Flight day 5 saw Expedition 28 Flight Engineers Mike Fossum and Ron Garan perform a spacewalk. Because of a short training flow and a requirement to launch the shuttle with a reduced crew of four, NASA opted not to utilize two spacewalkers from the STS-135 crew. The main tasks for the spacewalk included retrieving a failed pump module from an external stowage platform of the ISS for return to Earth inside shuttle's cargo bay, installing two experiments and repairing a new base for the station's robotic arm. The spacewalk began at 13:22 UTC (NASA Rule). For identification, Fossum's EMU
Extravehicular Mobility Unit
The Space Shuttle/International Space Station Extravehicular Mobility Unit is an independent anthropomorphic system that provides environmental protection, mobility, life support, and communications for a Space Shuttle or International Space Station crew member to perform extra-vehicular activity...

 spacesuit had red stripes around the legs, while Garan's had no markings. The spacewalkers used Canadarm2 to retrieve the pump module which failed in 2010. Operated by STS-135 Pilot Hurley and Mission Specialist Magnus in the station's cupola, Garan rode Canadarm2 to the pump module's stowage platform where he and Fossum removed it. Still on the arm, Garan took the pump module inside Atlantis's payload bay. There Fossum bolted it into place on the LMC. The astronauts next removed the Robotics Refueling Mission (RRM) experiment from the payload bay. Fossum, now on the arm, carried the experiment to a platform on Dextre for temporary storage, while Garan cleaned up tools and equipment in the payload bay of Atlantis. Recognizing the historical significance, "Take a look around, Ronny, You're the last EVA person in the payload bay of a shuttle." radioed Mission Specialist Rex Walheim, who served as the intra-vehicular officer to coordinate the spacewalk, from Atlantis's flight deck.

Upon completion of the installation, Fossum moved to the front of the Zarya module and freed a wire stuck in one latch door at a data grapple fixture. The fixture had been installed during STS-134
STS-134
STS-134 was the penultimate mission of NASA's Space Shuttle program. The mission marked the 25th and final flight of . This flight delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and an ExPRESS Logistics Carrier to the International Space Station. Mark Kelly served as the mission commander...

, the previous shuttle mission. The grapple fixture serves as a base for Canadarm2, considerably extending its range of operation on the Russian segment of the ISS. Garan also deployed a materials experiment (MISSE-8) that focuses on optical reflector materials, also installed during STS-134, on Express Logistics Carrier (ELC-2) FRAM-3 site on the station's starboard truss. Back together again, Fossum and Garan moved on to the Pressurized Mating Adapter (PMA-3) on the Tranquility node. They installed an insulating cover on the end of the adapter, an area exposed to considerable sunshine.

The two astronauts completed the six-hour, 31-minute spacewalk at 19:53 UTC. It was the 160th spacewalk in support of ISS assembly and maintenance and 249th spacewalk by U.S. astronauts. Inside the shuttle-station complex, transfer of material from the Raffaello MPLM began.

A urine processor in a U.S. toilet located in the Tranquility module was turned off since on Flight Day 4, as the astronauts reported a strong odor from the equipment. The decision was made since during the spacewalk, Hurley and Magnus used a robotics work station in the cupola.


13 July (Flight Day 6 – Cargo transfers)



Atlantis crew received a special wakeup message from Sir Elton John
Elton John
Sir Elton Hercules John, CBE, Hon DMus is an English rock singer-songwriter, composer, pianist and occasional actor...

 to start flight day 6. The message followed the day's wakeup song which was played at 6:29 UTC. Atlantis's crew focused on unpacking supplies from the Raffaello MPLM. The crew started the day 26 percent through the combined 15,069 pounds of cargo to transfer in or out of Raffaello. The MPLM was launched with 9,403 pounds of cargo and it is expected to return 5,666 pounds when Atlantis lands. The supplies and equipment that Atlantis astronauts delivered to the orbiting outpost is expected to keep the station well supplied through 2012.

The crew had some help from the station crew of Andrey Borisenko, Sergei Volkov and Satoshi Furukawa in the transfer operations. Crew members also opened the Pressurized Mating Adapter (PMA-3), attached to the Tranquility node, and stored some of the material from Raffaello there. Station lead flight director Chris Edelen said at an afternoon briefing that about 50% of the cargo had been moved from Raffaello and the shuttle's middeck to the space station.

All four shuttle crew members took some time out of their work at 16:54 UTC to talk with reporters from WBNG-TV and WICZ-TV in Binghamton, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, near Pilot Doug Hurley's home town of Apalachin and KGO-TV of San Francisco.

On the day, Space Shuttle Discovery also moved from the Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF-2) to the nearby Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to enter storage. The move was planned to house Atlantis in OPF-2 after landing.

14 July (Flight Day 7 – Cargo transfers/Off-duty)



Flight Day 7 saw crew unpacking more cargo from the Raffaello MPLM.

The crew also took some time off to participate in several special events. At 10:59 UTC, Commander Ferguson and Mission Specialist Magnus spoke with reporters from Fox News Radio and KTVI-TV and KSDK-TV in St. Louis. Then, at about 13:20 UTC, the entire crew was interviewed by WBBM-TV in Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, KTVU-TV in Oakland, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, and WTXF-TV in Philadelphia. Afterward the shuttle crew had most of the afternoon off. For supper, both the Atlantis and station crews enjoyed a special "All-American Meal" of barbecue brisket or grilled chicken and baked beans, southwestern corn and apple pie. NASA invited the public to share in it, virtually.

NASA on flight day 7 released the video captured by cameras mounted on each of Atlantis's solid rocket boosters showing the launch of the shuttle.

The shuttle astronauts went to sleep as planned but were awakened by the sound of a master alarm on board Atlantis at 22:07 GMT. The tone signaled a failure with one of Atlantis's five IBM AP-101
IBM AP-101
The IBM AP-101 is an avionics computer, used most notably in the U.S. Space Shuttle, but since also in the B-52 and B-1B bombers and the F-15 fighter, among others. When it was designed, it was a high-performance pipelined processor with core memory...

 General Purpose Computers (GPCs) No. 4. The alarm prompted Commander Ferguson to head to Atlantis and evaluate the issue. GPC-4 was running system management software at the time of failure. Ferguson with the help of Ground Control later transferred the failed GPC's programs onto GPC-2. The transfer took about 45 minutes, bypassing an expected period of loss of signal by utilizing communications at White Sands, New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

. After activating GPC-2 and with Atlantis in good shape, Ferguson and other crew members went back to sleep. "You all have done an absolutely fabulous job. We have polled the room, everyone is ready for you to go back to sleep," radioed CAPCOM Shannon Lucid
Shannon Lucid
Shannon Matilda Wells Lucid is an American biochemist and a NASA astronaut. At one time, she held the record for the longest duration stay in space by an American, as well as by a woman...

 from Mission Control.

As a result of the extra time spent on fixing the GPC-4 issue, Mission Control extended the crew sleep period by 30 minutes. Although no root cause was immediately identified, ground controllers immediately ruled out any connection between GPC-4 malfunction and the problem suffered by GPC-3 ahead of docking.

15 July (Flight Day 8 – Cargo transfers)



The crew awakened at 4:59 UTC to a special message and a song from Sir Paul McCartney. The wake up call was 30 minutes later than Atlantis's crew had been scheduled in order to give them time to make up sleep they lost over the course of the night due to the failure of GPC-4. Early on the day, Atlantis commander Ferguson and pilot Hurley re-loaded software and successfully restarted the GPC-4. Flight controllers in Houston also downloaded data dumps to carefully monitor the computer to make sure that it was running normally.

While Ferguson and Hurley focused on computer troubleshooting, Mission Specialists Magnus and Walheim together with the station crew continued to work on cargo transfers between Atlantis the Space Station. Walheim also transferred EMU/airlock items to Atlantis that won't be needed in the post-shuttle era.

Several media interviews happened at about 10:45 UTC. Ferguson and Doug Hurley talked with representatives of CBS Radio, KYW-TV in Philadelphia and Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

. Next, beginning at 12:04 UTC all STS-135 crew members talked with WPVI-TV and KYW Radio, both of Philadelphia, and Reuters. At the 45-minute crew news conference, Atlantis crew members and their station colleagues gathered in the Japanese Kibo Laboratory to take questions from news media. Reporters at four NASA centers, NASA headquarters and in Japan participated.

President Barack Obama, at about 16:30 UTC also called the combined Expedition 28 and Atlantis crews. He thanked those who had supported the shuttle program and said that he was proud of all the crew members. Shuttle Commander Chris Ferguson said that all the partners on the station were honored to represent their home countries in this multinational effort and station Flight Engineer Sergei Volkov described the station and shuttle crews, from three nations, as "one big family".

During the Mission Status Briefing, the STS-135 lead flight director Mr. Kwatsi Alibaruho
Kwatsi Alibaruho
Kwatsi Alibaruho is a Flight Director for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He is the first African American NASA Flight Director....

 said that transfers were right on timeline with 70% complete. The crew was ahead of timeline on earlier days but the computer problem caused to slow them down. He further mentioned that the latch on Atlantis's middeck locker for LiOH canisters is broken, and as a result, the entire panel had been fastened to floor with fasteners. The LiOH canisters are used to scrub Carbon Dioxide from the cabin air inside the shuttle. When Atlantis is docked to the Space station, the station Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) takes care of both the station's and Atlantis's air revitalization. However, when Atlantis flies solo after undocking, LiOH canisters are required. Regarding the GPC-4 issue, Mr. Alibaruho said that it a was very infrequent failure, happened before only on STS-9
STS-9
STS-9 was a NASA Space Shuttle mission which carried the first Spacelab module into orbit to conduct space-based scientific experiments. It was the sixth mission of the Space Shuttle Columbia, and was Columbia's last flight until STS-61-C in January 1986...

 and the last time a problem occurred on GPC 4 was on Atlantis's STS-71
STS-71
STS-71 was the third mission of the US/Russian Shuttle-Mir Program, which carried out the first Space Shuttle docking to Mir, a Russian space station. The mission used Space Shuttle Atlantis, which lifted off from launch pad 39A on 27 June 1995 from Kennedy Space Center, Florida...

 mission.

16 July (Flight Day 9 – Cargo transfers)



Flight day 9 was the bonus day added by the Mission Management Team earlier on the week as a result of Atlantis having been able to generate enough cryogenic Oxygen and Hydrogen to power its fuel cells. Throughout the day, the four member STS-135 crew spent more time to move supplies and equipment between the Space Station and the Raffaello MPLM.

Early on the day, Commander Ferguson and Pilot Hurley also spent some time working to successfully repair the door that gives the crew access to the LiOH canisters. Mission Specialist Magnus spent about an hour and a half in the morning taking microbial air samples on various locations in the space station. The collected samples will be returned for study and further analysis. Magnus also worked the Japanese Experiment Module Remote Manipulator System (JEMRMS). Mission Specialist Walheim along with station crew member Mike Fossum continued work with spacewalking equipment in the Quest airlock. Some of them will be left on the station, and will be utilized during an upcoming Russian spacewalks on 3 August 2011. Hurley working with station crew member Ron Garan stored some of the cargo in Atlantis's mid-deck to be returned. Since no astronaut was riding in the mid-deck, on the way back, it was expected to be fully packed with 1564 pounds of cargo. Among cargo brought to the space station, 2281 pounds were also in the mid-deck.

The STS-135 crew also provided a recorded message as a tribute to Atlantis, the entire Space Shuttle Program and team. In the message, Ferguson spoke about the U.S. flag displayed behind them that was flown on the first space shuttle mission, STS-1
STS-1
STS-1 was the first orbital flight of NASA's Space Shuttle program. Space Shuttle Columbia launched on 12 April 1981, and returned to Earth on 14 April, having orbited the Earth 37 times during the 54.5-hour mission. It was the first American manned space flight since the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project...

. It was flown on this mission to be presented to the space station crew. The flag will remain displayed onboard the space station until the next crew launched from the U.S. retrieves it for return to Earth.

In a video celebrating the centennial of naval aviation, Commander Ferguson and Pilot Hurley also paid tribute to U.S. naval aviators. Among many those who have made significant contributions to the manned U.S. space program, Hurley mentioned several names such as Alan Shepard
Alan Shepard
Alan Bartlett Shepard, Jr. was an American naval aviator, test pilot, flag officer, and NASA astronaut who in 1961 became the second person, and the first American, in space. This Mercury flight was designed to enter space, but not to achieve orbit...

, the first American to fly in space; John Glenn
John Glenn
John Herschel Glenn, Jr. is a former United States Marine Corps pilot, astronaut, and United States senator who was the first American to orbit the Earth and the third American in space. Glenn was a Marine Corps fighter pilot before joining NASA's Mercury program as a member of NASA's original...

, the first American to orbit the Earth; Neil Armstrong
Neil Armstrong
Neil Alden Armstrong is an American former astronaut, test pilot, aerospace engineer, university professor, United States Naval Aviator, and the first person to set foot upon the Moon....

 and Eugene Cernan, the first and last humans to set foot on the moon; John Young and Robert Crippen
Robert Crippen
Robert Laurel Crippen is an engineer, retired United States Navy Captain and a former NASA astronaut. He flew on four Space Shuttle missions, including three as commander...

, the first pilots of the Space Shuttle; and Ferguson and Hurley, the commander and the pilot of the current (last) shuttle flight.

Just before the crew prepared to go for sleep, CAPCOM Megan McArthur notified them that the flight controllers thought that the GPC-4 failure was caused by a single event upset
Single event upset
A single event upset is a change of state caused by ions or electro-magnetic radiation striking a sensitive node in a micro-electronic device, such as in a microprocessor, semiconductor memory, or power transistors. The state change is a result of the free charge created by ionization in or close...

 (teams on the ground listed a Coronal Mass Ejection
Coronal mass ejection
A coronal mass ejection is a massive burst of solar wind, other light isotope plasma, and magnetic fields rising above the solar corona or being released into space....

 as one of three potential contributing factors) and that GPC-4 was a healthy machine. Furthermore, she mentioned that the plan was to assign systems management (SM) to GPC-4 the next morning and if no further problems arose, it was to be kept for undocking.

17 July (Flight Day 10 - Cargo transfers/Off duty)



On Flight Day 10, the crew of Atlantis wrapped up the transfer work inside the Raffaello MPLM. During the Mission Status Briefing, Space Station lead Flight Director Chris Edelen said that "They (crew) reached a key milestone today in that the Raffaello logistics module was closed out, all the cargo that (came) up to space station has been transferred over, that was actually completed a couple of days ago, and today they've packed Raffaello with all the return cargo that's going to be coming back to Earth". STS-135 delivered 9403 pounds of cargo in the MPLM up to the space station and the crew packed up 5666 pounds of returning cargo inside the MPLM. The crew also installed the control and power assemblies in the hatch leading into the MPLM. On the next day, the controllers were used to drive the bolts to release the MPLM from Node 2.

At 10:10 UTC, pilot Doug Hurley and Mission Specialist Rex Walheim answered videotaped questions from students at NASA Explorer Schools across the United States. It was the last interactive educational event conducted by a space shuttle crew.

After their midday meal, Mission Specialist Sandra Magnus and Commander Chris Ferguson worked a little over an hour continuing to move experiments and equipment to and from Atlantis's middeck. At the end 84% of middeck transfers were completed. The crew transferred a new science refrigerator (GLACIER) from the Shuttle's middeck to the Space Station. Another couple of noteworthy middeck payloads that were transferred included the mass spectrometer in the mass constituent analyzer, a device in the U.S. segment that samples air from different parts of the station to determine its constituents. Flight Engineer Ron Garan removed the broken spectrometer and moved it to Atlantis's middeck for return. The suspect gyroscope in the TVIS treadmill located in the Russian segment removed by Flight Engineer Sergey volkov was also placed in the middeck. After completing those transfers, the shuttle crew had most of the afternoon off.

NASA TV also showed a recorded video in which Magnus, a soccer enthusiast and Station Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa cheer on their country's women's world cup soccer teams. On 17 July, the U.S. team played against Japan, in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup final in Hannover, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. Japan won the final on a penalty shoot-out following a 2–2 tie after extra time.

18 July (Flight Day 11 - MPLM Return, Farewells/Hatch Closure)



The STS-135 crew returned the MPLM back to Atlantis's payload bay on flight day 12, closed the hatches between the Space Station and the Shuttle and prepared for next day's undocking.

Beginning at 5:03 UTC, hatches were closed separating Raffaello MPLM and the Space Station, when the hatch on the MPLM was sealed. With station's Canadarm2 locked onto Raffaello, commands were issued at 10:14 UTC to begin the releasing operations of the 16 motorized bolts holding the MPLM in place on the station's Node 2. Arm operators, Mission Specialist Magnus and Pilot Hurley working inside the cupola, un-berthed Raffaello at 10:48 UTC and moved it back to Atlantis's payload bay. The move was completed by around 11:48 UTC. The securing of the Raffaello in shuttle's payload bay marked the 10th and final transfer of a MPLM in the Space Shuttle Program history.

Atlantis and Space Station crew members said their goodbyes and closed hatches between the two spacecraft at 14:28 UTC, ending seven days, 21 hours, 41 minutes of joined docked operations. At the farewell ceremony, Commander Ferguson presented to the station a small U.S. flag that had flown on STS-1. He also presented a shuttle model signed by program officials and the mission's lead shuttle and station flight directors. "What you don't see is the signatures of the tens of thousands who rose to orbit with us over the past 30 years, if only in spirit," Ferguson said.

Ferguson thanked Expedition 28 commander Andrey Borisenko for the hospitality and his crew's help in making the mission a success. Borisenko replied by wishing the shuttle crew a safe trip home and happy landings. Station Flight Engineer Ron Garan especially thanked Magnus for her "load master" activity of moving cargo between the two spacecraft.

Shortly after hatches between the two spacecraft were closed, the crew returned to Atlantis. They carried out tasks to prepare for the undocking from the Space Station. Ferguson and Hurley installed the centerline camera while hatch leak checks were still under way. Hurley and Walheim also checked out the rendezvous tools.

19 July (Flight Day 12 - Undocking)


Space Shuttle Atlantis undocked from the Space Station early on flight day 12, marking the end of shuttle visits to the orbiting outpost. With pilot Douglas Hurley at the control, undocking occurred at 6:28 UTC as the two spacecraft flew through orbital night above the Pacific Ocean east of Christchurch, New Zealand. Shortly after, in keeping with naval tradition, flight engineer Ron Garan rang the station's bell in the Harmony module, and said "Atlantis, departing the International Space Station for the last time."

After undocking, Atlantis moved away, to a station keeping point about 600 feet (182.9 m) ahead of the ISS. Before beginning a final half-lap unique fly, pilot Doug Hurley paused the shuttle by firing thrusters for a moment and during this time the space station changed its orientation by rotating 90 degrees to the right. That gave Atlantis crew a good opportunity to take still camera photographs and shoot video of station areas not normally documented in previous shuttle fly-arounds. The images are expected to help experts on the ground to get additional information on the station's conditions. The half-lap fly around which began around 7:30 UTC was completed about 25 minutes later.

Teams in both shuttle and station flight control rooms in Houston were working their last shuttle shift. Commander Ferguson thanked the Orbit 1 team of shuttle flight controllers headed by Flight Director Kwatsi Alibaruho. He urged them to pause a moment on their way out and "make a memory." From the station flight control room, CAPCOM Daniel Tani, told Ferguson that it had been 'a pleasure and an honor" to support the mission. "We are proud to be the last of a countless line of mission control teams who have watched while shuttles visited the ISS. The ISS wouldn't be here without the shuttle." noted Tani. "It's been an incredible ride. On behalf of the four of us, we're really appreciative we had the opportunity to work with you on this pivotal mission," replied Ferguson.

At the end of the half-loop, Atlantis did two TI separation burns, the second at 8:18 UTC to move away from the vicinity of the space station.

After their midday meal, Ferguson, Hurley and Mission Specialist Sandra Magnus did the late survey of Atlantis's heat shield, focused on the reinforced carbon carbon (RCC) of the wing leading edges and the nose cap. They used the shuttle's RMS and its 50 feet (15.2 m) OBSS to look first at the starboard wing, then the nose cap and finally the port wing. The crew completed the inspections at 2:30 UTC. Magnus and ground engineers began reviewing the collected data to verify that shuttle's TPS has received no impact damage from micrometeoroids or space junk during its docked operations or fly-around of the station. At the end of a highly successful day in space, the crew members went to bed at 4:59 UTC.

20 July (Flight Day 13 - PicoSat deploy/Landing prep)


Flight day 13 was the final full day in space for the STS-135 crew. They spent the day checking out the Atlantis's flight control surfaces and hot firing its reaction control system (RCS) jets, making sure everything is ready for deorbit.

Mission managers cleared Atlantis's for entry after reviewing results of the "late inspection" survey of the shuttle's heat shield performed by crew on the flight day 12.

Atlantis's crew also deployed a 8.2 lb (3.7 kg), 5×5×10-inch technology demonstration picosatellite into a low Earth orbit at around 360 km, called Pico-Satellite Solar Cell experiment (PSSC-2), from inside a spring ejection canister in the shuttle's payload bay. The picosatellite will relay data back on the performance of its solar cells based on new technology for analysis before possible use on future satellites. PSSC-2 deployment at 7:54 UTC was the 180th and final payload deployed in the shuttle history. Shortly after, CAPCOM astronaut Barry Wilmore from the ground congratulated the crew on the successful deployment. Mission specialist Rex Walheim marked the milestone by reciting an original poem. "Outstanding, Rex, we applaud you," Wilmore said amid cheers from the Houston Flight Control Room.

After PSSC-2 was deployed, it was expected to use multiple on board megapixel cameras to take some last parting shots of Atlantis in orbit. These were to be the last photos of a space shuttle ever taken from space.

The crew also participated in one last round of interviews with reporters on the ground. At 8:44 UTC the crew talked with ABC News, CBS News, CNN, FoxNews and NBC News.

The crew finished the final preparations for its planned landing. Commander Ferguson and Pilot Hurley practiced landing procedures with a video game-like simulator(called the Portable Inflight Landing Operations Trainer - PILOT). Ferguson, Hurley and Walheim spent a little over an hour beginning around 6:15 UTC powering up one of the APUs to conduct OPS-8 activities. This process verifies the functionality of Atlantis's flight control surfaces, actuating the rudder, speed brakes, wing and tail body flaps with which they will guide the shuttle through the atmosphere. They then stowed the Ku-Band antenna at 10:34 a.m. EDT and went to sleep.

The Empire State Building
Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is a 102-story landmark skyscraper and American cultural icon in New York City at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street. It has a roof height of 1,250 feet , and with its antenna spire included, it stands a total of 1,454 ft high. Its name is derived...

 in New York City paid tribute to 30 years of space shuttle flights by lighting up with red, white and blue throughout the night of July 20.

21 July (Flight Day 14 - Landing)


The final day began with the wakeup song "God Bless America" played at 12:29 UTC. According to CAPCOM Shanon Lucid, the song was dedicated to not only the entire crew, but also to all "the men and women who put their heart and soul into the shuttle program for all these years".

The weather outlook for the landing forecasted very little to be concerned about with 10 miles (16.1 km) visibility and 1 mi/h crosswind. Flight controllers decided against delaying the landing until daylight citing the excellent conditions for landing.

The crew was given a "go" to start "fluid loading" that involves drinking large amounts of liquids and salt tablets. The protocol assists the incoming astronauts from space with weightlessness conditions to re-adapt to Earth's gravity.

The de-orbit burn occurred at 4:49:04 a.m. EDT for three minutes and 17 seconds to decelerate the craft over the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 near northwestern Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is the capital and the second largest city in Malaysia by population. The city proper, making up an area of , has a population of 1.4 million as of 2010. Greater Kuala Lumpur, also known as the Klang Valley, is an urban agglomeration of 7.2 million...

, Malaysia. The shuttle was re-oriented into forward, right-side-up free-flight. The Shuttle crew continued its descent and entered the earth's atmosphere around 5:25 a.m. EDT. Shuttle technicians moved onto the shuttle landing site around 5:35 a.m. EDT. The craft eventually decelerated to coast at 223 miles per hour (99.7 m/s). The Space Shuttle landed at the Kennedy Space Center on runway 15 at 5:57:00 am EDT. Nose Gear touch down occurred at 5:57:20 am EDT. Wheelstop occurred at 5:57:54 am EDT.

Recognizing the historical enormity of the final landing, Commander Chris Ferguson just after wheels stop said "Mission complete, Houston, After serving the world for over 30 years, the shuttle has earned its place in history, and it has come to a final stop." to which Entry CAPCOM Barry Wilmore replied "We congratulate you, Atlantis, as well as the thousands of passionate individuals across this great space faring nation who truly empowered this incredible spacecraft which has inspired millions around the globe."

Hundreds turned out at Kennedy Space Center to witness the last-ever landing of a space shuttle. An estimated 4,000 shuttle program workers also gathered to watch TV coverage at the Johnson Space Center in Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

. Inside Mission Control, team members shook hands, hugged and took pictures of each other savoring the historical occasion.

After working through the checklists to safely power down the shuttle, the crew egresses Atlantis into the Crew Transport Vehicle (CTV). Shortly after, the Houston Mission Control Center handed over Atlantis to the landing convoy at the KSC. The crew performed the traditional walk-around of the shuttle after walking down the stairs from the CTV. On the runway, they also met NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver, KSC Center Director Robert Cabana, shuttle program manager John Shannon, launch director Mike Leinbach, Atlantis flow manager Angie Brewer, and other NASA officials. Charles Bolden and Commander Ferguson spoke briefly on the tarmac. Feguson did note that the door to the Waste Collection System in shuttle's mid-deck flew open during entry. After the speech, the crew got into the AstroVan for the ride to the crew quarters building where they spend the night before returning back to Houston on the next day. On 22 July, around 4 p.m. local time, the STS-135 crew members attended the welcome ceremony at Houston's Ellington Field's Hangar 990.

Atlantis was towed back to Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF-2) where a walk-around for NASA/Kennedy Space Center employees was held. Following the event, the shuttle was returned to OPF-2 vacated by Space Shuttle Discovery on 13 July. Technicians will begin down processing Atlantis preparing the shuttle's retirement as a museum exhibit in the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.




Space Shuttle Employee Appreciation Event



NASA hosted an employee appreciation event outside OPF-2 with Atlantis parked. Cheryl Hurst, the director of education and external relations at KSC spoke first and invited Susan Lambert to lead the crowd with the U.S. national anthem. A pledge of allegiance followed next from KSC children. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana spoke to the shuttle program employees. During the event, Rita Wilcoxson and Patricia Stratton were presented with highest NASA honors, the Distinguish Service Medal and the Distinguish Public Service Medal respectively. The citations on both were identical and carried "for continuous outstanding leadership contributions provided to the nation's space shuttle program".

Wake-up calls


NASA began a tradition of playing music to astronauts during the Gemini program, and first used music to wake up a flight crew during Apollo 15
Apollo 15
Apollo 15 was the ninth manned mission in the American Apollo space program, the fourth to land on the Moon and the eighth successful manned mission. It was the first of what were termed "J missions", long duration stays on the Moon with a greater focus on science than had been possible on previous...

. Each track is specially chosen, often by the astronauts' families, and usually has a special meaning to an individual member of the crew, or is applicable to their daily activities.

For STS-135, some of the wake-up calls were accompanied by greetings, from either the performing artist or NASA employees.
Flight Day Song Artist Greeting Played for Links
"Viva la Vida" Coldplay
Coldplay
Coldplay are a British alternative rock band formed in 1996 by lead vocalist Chris Martin and lead guitarist Jonny Buckland at University College London. After they formed Pectoralz, Guy Berryman joined the group as a bassist and they changed their name to Starfish. Will Champion joined as a...

Employees at the Marshall Space Flight Center
Marshall Space Flight Center
The George C. Marshall Space Flight Center is the U.S. government's civilian rocketry and spacecraft propulsion research center. The largest center of NASA, MSFC's first mission was developing the Saturn launch vehicles for the Apollo moon program...

Douglas Hurley MP3 WAV Video
"Mr. Blue Sky
Mr. Blue Sky
"Mr. Blue Sky" is a song by English rock group Electric Light Orchestra, featured on the band's seventh studio album Out of the Blue . Written and produced by frontman Jeff Lynne, the song forms the fourth and final track of the "Concerto for a Rainy Day" suite, on side three of the original double...

"
Electric Light Orchestra
Electric Light Orchestra
Electric Light Orchestra were a British rock group from Birmingham who released eleven studio albums between 1971 and 1986 and another album in 2001. ELO were formed to accommodate Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne's desire to create modern rock and pop songs with classical overtones...

Christopher Ferguson
Christopher Ferguson
Christopher J. Ferguson is a United States Navy captain and a NASA astronaut. He was the pilot of Space Shuttle Atlantis on his first mission to space, STS-115, which launched on September 9, 2006 and returned to Earth on September 21, 2006...

MP3 WAV Video
"Tubthumping
Tubthumping
"Tubthumping", informally known by its prominent lyric "I Get Knocked Down", is the title of a song released by the Anarcho-punk band Chumbawamba on 11 August 1997 through Universal Records and EMI Electrola. It was their most successful single, peaking at number 2 on the UK Singles Chart...

"
Chumbawamba
Chumbawamba
Chumbawamba is a British musical group who have, over a career spanning nearly three decades, played punk rock, pop-influenced music, world music, and folk music...

Sandra Magnus
Sandra Magnus
Sandra Hall Magnus is an American engineer and a NASA astronaut. She returned to Earth with the crew of STS-119 Discovery on March 28, 2009, after having spent 134 days in orbit. She was assigned to the crew of STS-135, the final mission of the Space Shuttle...

MP3 WAV Video
"More
More (Matthew West song)
"More" is a song written and performed by contemporary Christian musician Matthew West from his first album, Happy. Released in late 2003, it was the first and most successful radio single of West's career to date. The song stayed at #1 on Christian radio for nine consecutive weeks during 2004,...

"
Matthew West
Matthew West
On July 26, 2002, only a week or two before signing a record contract with Universal South Records, West had an injury to his left arm which threatened his musical career and guitar playing. He says, "I locked myself out of my house. But I'd done that before, and I had a way of breaking in through...

Rex Walheim MP3 WAV Video
"Rocket Man" Elton John
Elton John
Sir Elton Hercules John, CBE, Hon DMus is an English rock singer-songwriter, composer, pianist and occasional actor...

Elton John STS-135 Crew MP3 WAV Video
"Man on the Moon
Man on the Moon (song)
"Man on the Moon" is a song by the American alternative rock band R.E.M., released as the second single from its 1992 album Automatic for the People. The song makes numerous references to the performer Andy Kaufman, including his Elvis impersonation and work with wrestlers Fred Blassie and Jerry...

" (A cappella
A cappella
A cappella music is specifically solo or group singing without instrumental sound, or a piece intended to be performed in this way. It is the opposite of cantata, which is accompanied singing. A cappella was originally intended to differentiate between Renaissance polyphony and Baroque concertato...

version)
Michael Stipe
Michael Stipe
John Michael Stipe is an American singer and lyricist. He was the lead vocalist of the alternative rock band R.E.M.Stipe is noted and occasionally parodied for the "mumbling" style of his early career as well as his social and political activism. He was in charge of R.E.M.'s visual image; often...

Michael Stipe STS-135 Crew MP3 WAV Video
"Good Day Sunshine
Good Day Sunshine
"Good Day Sunshine" is a song by The Beatles on the 1966 album Revolver. It was written mainly by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon–McCartney. Leonard Bernstein praised the song for its construction in a 1967 CBS News documentary...

"
The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney
Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE, Hon RAM, FRCM is an English musician, singer-songwriter and composer. Formerly of The Beatles and Wings , McCartney is listed in Guinness World Records as the "most successful musician and composer in popular music history", with 60 gold discs and sales of 100...

STS-135 Crew Video
"Run the World (Girls)
Run the World (Girls)
"Run the World " is a song performed by American recording artist Beyoncé Knowles. It was written by Terius "The-Dream" Nash, Knowles, Nick "Afrojack" van de Wall, Wesley "Diplo" Pentz, David "Switch" Taylor, and Adidja Palmer and produced by Switch, The-Dream, Knowles and Shea Taylor...

"
Beyoncé Knowles
Beyoncé Knowles
Beyoncé Giselle Knowles , often known simply as Beyoncé, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, she enrolled in various performing arts schools and was first exposed to singing and dancing competitions as a child...

Beyoncé Knowles Sandra Magnus
Sandra Magnus
Sandra Hall Magnus is an American engineer and a NASA astronaut. She returned to Earth with the crew of STS-119 Discovery on March 28, 2009, after having spent 134 days in orbit. She was assigned to the crew of STS-135, the final mission of the Space Shuttle...

Video
"Celebration" Kool & the Gang
Kool & the Gang
Kool & the Gang are an American jazz, R&B, soul, and funk group, originally formed as the Jazziacs in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1964.They went through several musical phases during the course of their recording career, starting out with a purist jazz sound, then becoming practitioners of R&B and...

Employees at the Stennis Space Center
John C. Stennis Space Center
The John C. Stennis Space Center , located in Hancock County, Mississippi, at the Mississippi-Louisiana border, is NASA's largest rocket engine test facility.- History :...

Sandra Magnus
Sandra Magnus
Sandra Hall Magnus is an American engineer and a NASA astronaut. She returned to Earth with the crew of STS-119 Discovery on March 28, 2009, after having spent 134 days in orbit. She was assigned to the crew of STS-135, the final mission of the Space Shuttle...

WAV Video
"Days Go By
Days Go By (Keith Urban song)
"Days Go By" is the title of a song co-written and recorded by Australian country music artist Keith Urban. It was released in June 2004 as the lead-off single for his Be Here album, which ends with a variation called "These Are the Days.". It became Urban's fifth Number One single, spending four...

"
Keith Urban
Keith Urban
Keith Lionel Urban is a New Zealand-born Australian, country music singer, songwriter and guitarist whose commercial success has been mainly in the United States and Australia. Urban was born in New Zealand and began his career in Australia at an early age...

Employees at the Johnson Space Center
Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
The Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's center for human spaceflight training, research and flight control. The center consists of a complex of 100 buildings constructed on 1,620 acres in Houston, Texas, USA...

Rex Walheim Video
"Don't Panic
Don't Panic (song)
"Don't Panic" is a song written and recorded by English alternative rock band Coldplay. Originally titled "Panic", the earliest known version of the song existed in 1998, performed live during the band's first gig in the same year. It had a different melody, and was included in the band's second...

"
Coldplay
Coldplay
Coldplay are a British alternative rock band formed in 1996 by lead vocalist Chris Martin and lead guitarist Jonny Buckland at University College London. After they formed Pectoralz, Guy Berryman joined the group as a bassist and they changed their name to Starfish. Will Champion joined as a...

Douglas Hurley Video
"Fanfare for the Common Man
Fanfare for the Common Man
Fanfare for the Common Man is a 20th-century American classical music work by American composer Aaron Copland. The piece was written in 1942 for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra under conductor Eugene Goossens. It was inspired in part by a famous speech made earlier in the same year where vice...

"
Aaron Copland
Aaron Copland
Aaron Copland was an American composer, composition teacher, writer, and later in his career a conductor of his own and other American music. He was instrumental in forging a distinctly American style of composition, and is often referred to as "the Dean of American Composers"...

Employees at the Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center
The John F. Kennedy Space Center is the NASA installation that has been the launch site for every United States human space flight since 1968. Although such flights are currently on hiatus, KSC continues to manage and operate unmanned rocket launch facilities for America's civilian space program...

Christopher Ferguson
Christopher Ferguson
Christopher J. Ferguson is a United States Navy captain and a NASA astronaut. He was the pilot of Space Shuttle Atlantis on his first mission to space, STS-115, which launched on September 9, 2006 and returned to Earth on September 21, 2006...

Video
"God Bless America
God Bless America
"God Bless America" is an American patriotic song written by Irving Berlin in 1918 and revised by him in 1938. The later version has notably been recorded by Kate Smith, becoming her signature song ....

"
Kate Smith
Kate Smith
Kathryn Elizabeth "Kate" Smith was an American Popular singer, best known for her rendition of Irving Berlin's "God Bless America". Smith had a radio, television, and recording career spanning five decades, which reached its pinnacle in the 1940s.Smith was born in Greenville, Virginia...

Shannon Lucid
Shannon Lucid
Shannon Matilda Wells Lucid is an American biochemist and a NASA astronaut. At one time, she held the record for the longest duration stay in space by an American, as well as by a woman...

 on behalf of all previous missions and to the people that made them happen
STS-135 Crew and "for all the men and women who put their hearts and souls into the Shuttle program for all these years" Video

See also


  • 2011 in spaceflight
    2011 in spaceflight
    The year 2011 saw a number of significant events in spaceflight, including the retirement of the Space Shuttle after its final flight in July 2011 and the launch of China's first space station module, Tiangong-1, in September...

  • List of ISS spacewalks
  • List of space shuttle missions
  • List of human spaceflights chronologically

External links