[<< wikinews] Space Shuttle Atlantis landing concludes program
Friday, July 22, 2011 

Space Shuttle Atlantis has completed its last journey with a landing at Kennedy Space Center, located in Florida, United States. Two thousand employees, including employees, families and friends, witnessed the landing of Atlantis at 0557 EDT (0957 UTC) yesterday. This landing has brought mission STS-135 to a close, as well as the Space Shuttle program from NASA. The program, which experienced a total of one hundred and thirty-five missions, had been in operation for thirty years, since 1981.
During the landing, Christopher Ferguson, the flight's commander, commented that "[t]he space shuttle changed the way we view the world and it changed the way we view the universe". Citing "a lot of emotion" in relation to this landing, Ferguson clarified that "one thing's indisputable: America's not going to stop exploring".
Amongst the aftermath of the landing, NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr. produced a speech while standing in front of the spacecraft and its crew and spoke of "the rare opportunity to witness history". Atlantis launched for the final time on July 8 this year. Bolden commented: "This final shuttle flight marks the end of an era, but today we recommit ourselves to continuing human spaceflight and taking the necessary and difficult steps to ensure America's leadership in human spaceflight for years to come."
The United States government gave the order to abandon the program, partially attributing their cancellation to the expense of vehicle maintenance. Due to the program's conclusion, in excess of three thousand space shuttle operation contributions are now anticipated to lose their occupations. Bolden spoke of how grateful NASA were to the "thousands, literally tens of thousands, of folks all around the country who made all this possible". There is now no way for individuals to travel into space from the United States. To do this, NASA will utilise the services of the Russian spacecraft Soyuz.

== Related news ==
"End of an era: Space Shuttle Atlantis launches on final mission in program" — Wikinews, July 8, 2011
"Space Shuttle Endeavour enters history books after nineteen years following penultimate landing of program" — Wikinews, June 4, 2011
"NASA celebrates 30th anniversary of first shuttle launch; announces new homes for retired shuttles" — Wikinews, April 13, 2011
"Space Shuttle Atlantis launches for the final time" — Wikinews, May 14, 2010

== Sources ==
Greg Milam. "Atlantis Glides Into The History Books" — Sky News, July 21, 2011
Richard Luscombe. "Space shuttle Atlantis touches down, ending an era of adventure in space" — The Guardian, July 21, 2011
Jonathan Amos. "Space shuttle Atlantis makes final landing" — BBC News Online, July 21, 2011

== External links ==