"There are lots of white lapel ribbons adorning shirts around Kennedy today for the final planned spaceflight of Atlantis. Employees at Kennedy were given the commemorative lapel ribbons recently to mark the occasion and most of the folks in the Launch Control Center have theirs displayed prominently. The ribbons are printed in golden lettering with 'Atlantis' stylized on one arm and 'STS-132' on the other, with a shuttle image underneath.
This shuttle set a record between its first two flights that still stands: Atlantis' second flight launched only 50 days after its first flight ended. Both missions, launched in 1985, were successful."
When the shuttle program first launched in 1981, the idea was that they would be able to have new launches every week. That didn't exactly happen, of course
Metafilter's own eriko explains what happened there/
Atlantis blasted off on its maiden flight, a classified military mission, on Oct. 3, 1985. The orbiter flew another 31 times over the next 25 years, crossing the 120-million-mile mark early Wednesday.
Among the highlights of its quarter century of service were the launchings of robotic probes to Venus and Jupiter, deployment of the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory satellite, five military missions and seven flights to the Russian Mir space station.
Atlantis also flew 11 missions to the International Space Station and visited the Hubble Space Telescope last year for a final overhaul.
“It’s a real honor to be among the 191 crew members that have flown on Atlantis in her over 300 days in orbit, 120 million miles,” Captain Bowen, a former submariner, said before re-entry. “Atlantis is actually named after a ship of research and discovery from a place I happened to study, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. And she has definitely lived up to her name.”
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