Space Shuttle Atlantis

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The Space Shuttle Atlantis (Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-104) is one of the three operational Space Shuttle orbiters in the Space Shuttle fleet belonging to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the spaceflight and space exploration agency of the United States[2] (the other two operational Space Shuttles are the Discovery and the Endeavour). The Atlantis was the fourth operational (and the next-to-the-last) Space Shuttle to be constructed by the Rockwell International company in Southern California, and she was delivered to the John F. Kennedy Space Center in eastern Florida in April 1985.[3][4] Atlantis is the only orbiter which lacks the ability to draw power from the International Space Station while docked there, it must continue to provide its own power through fuel cells.[5]

In early 2008, the NASA Administrator, with the approval of the President and the United States Congress, decided to continue with the Atlantis making space flights until sometime in 2010, the tentatively predetermined end of the Space Shuttle's spaceflight program.[6] This reversed a previous decision to retire Atlantis in 2008.[7][8]

The final reading on Atlantis' "odometer" after its 32nd flight (STS-132) is approximately the same distance as 505 one way flights from the Earth to the Moon.[9]


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