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Thursday, July 21, 2011

"NASA Space Shuttle Atlantis Makes Final Landing"



Early this morning, the Shuttle Atlantis landed at the Kennedy Space Center. It was the last flight of the American Space Shuttle Program, and the end of an era. From now on, American astronauts will hitch rides to the space station via Russian Soyuz rockets. It will be at least three years -- maybe more -- before Americans are once again launched into orbit from U.S. soil.

All-in-all, during the course of it's 30-year history, the American shuttle program has launched 135 missions. It's traveled more than 537 million miles in orbit, and has carried 335 astronauts into space -- 14 of whom died when the shuttles Columbia and Challenger were lost.

NASA will continue to study our solar system, astronauts will still go into space (courtesy of the Russians), and unmanned missions are currently being planned. But the future of American manned space missions remains uncertain.

-Jon

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Jon Baas

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