Welcome Home, Atlantis

Today marks the end of an era. Three decades of missions came to a close this morning as the Space Shuttle Atlantis touched down in Florida after a 13-day trip to the International Space Station. All told, the 135 space shuttle missions have racked up more than 542 million miles in low earth orbit. Commander Chris Ferguson piloted the Atlantis to a safe landing at 5:52 a.m., and the spacecraft will soon undergo processing and decommissioning. It has been an emotional experience for residents and workers along Florida's Space Coast -- some 9,000 shuttle engineers, technicians, and other staff are being laid off, and the main tourism draw for the area has come to an end. Shown here, for one last time, is a look at a full shuttle mission, STS-135, the final flight of Atlantis. Also, be sure to see The History of the Space Shuttle, an earlier entry on In Focus.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Bryan Woolston / Reuters

    Photos of the Women's Marches Around the World

    Images of today’s marches in Washington, New York, Denver, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle, and from other cities in England, Ghana, France, Canada, Serbia, Australia, Kenya, Germany, India, and many more.

  • Elizabeth Conley

    Americans at Work: A Church for the Unemployed

    Part of our ongoing series of photo essays at The Atlantic titled “Americans at Work.” This week, photographs of the NorthWest Bible Church’s Between Jobs Ministry in Spring, Texas, made by photographer Elizabeth Conley.

  • Scott Olson / Getty

    Photos of the Inauguration of President Donald J. Trump

    On January 20, 2017, the peaceful transfer of American power took place in Washington, DC, as Barack Obama, passed the office to Donald J. Trump.

  • Stephanie Keith / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: 1/14–1/20

    Preparations for the Inauguration in Washington, DC, a sea lion kisses Princess Stephanie of Monaco, a volcanic eruption in Mexico, and much more.

Join the Discussion