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 ←/→.
Jump to Comments

Most Recent

  • Bill Ingalls/NASA

    Photos of the Week: 3/21-3/27

    This week, we have photos of the Germanwings flight crash scene, preparations for launch at the Baikonur cosmodrome, a sinkhole in New Jersey, unrest and airstrikes in Yemen, Alaskan Wood bison returning to the wild, the last Jew in the Turkish town of Edirne, a memorial to Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew, and much more.

  • AP

    On This Day 36 Years Ago: The Signing of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty

    Thirty-six years ago, on March 26, 1979, Egypt and Israel signed a historic peace treaty that has held to this day.

  • Frank Rumpenhorst/AFP/Getty Images

    The Big Thaw

    Friday was the vernal equinox, the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, despite continued wintry conditions in a few places (I'm looking at you, New England).

  • Google, Inc.

    A Virtual Drive Through Bhutan

    I'd like to show you a few views of Bhutan, its remarkable landscape, and colorful architecture, courtesy of Google's Street View team (with links, so you can explore more on your own).

Join the Discussion