At 5:57 a.m. EDT a record crowd of about 2,000 watched near the landing strip at runway 15 of NASA's Kennedy Space Center as one of the Space Shuttles touched down for the last time. "After serving the world for over 30 years, the Space Shuttle's earned its place in history. And it's come to a final stop," radioed commander Christopher Ferguson, according to the Associated Press. "Job well done, America," replied Mission Control.
"The Space Shuttle has changed the way we view the world and it's changed the way we view our universe," said Ferguson. "There's a lot of emotion today, but one thing's indisputable. America's not going to stop exploring. Thank you Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Endeavour and our ship Atlantis. Thank you for protecting us and bringing this program to such a fitting end."
Video of the landing is embedded below. The main landing gear of Atlantis touched down at exactly 5:57, with the entire vehicle coming to a complete stop less than a minute later.
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is a former associate editor at The Atlantic