Last 4 shuttle astronauts arrive for countdown

Jul 04, 2011 By MARCIA DUNN , AP Aerospace Writer

(AP) -- The four astronauts who will close out NASA's space shuttle program are at their Florida launch site, eager for a Friday takeoff.

Commander Christopher Ferguson and his crew flew into from Houston on Monday, the Fourth of July. NASA staff handed them small U.S. flags, as their launch director greeted them out on the runway.

The four will take Atlantis on the last flight of NASA's 30-year shuttle program. Atlantis will make a supply run to the , before joining Discovery and Endeavour in retirement.

Ferguson says it will be a busy 12-day flight. But when it's over, he says the astronauts will be "very proud to put the right-hand bookend on the ."

Explore further: Sparks fly as NASA pushes the limits of 3-D printing technology

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Shuttle 'Go' for Dec. 6 Launch

Dec 04, 2007

Space shuttle Atlantis is set to begin its launch countdown for the STS-122 mission with a flurry of activities at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Atlantis is scheduled to launch at 4:31 p.m. EST on ...

NASA Updates Shuttle Target Launch Date for Hubble Mission

Jun 07, 2007

NASA managers officially are targeting Sept. 10, 2008, for the launch of the fifth and final space shuttle servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. During the 11-day flight, Atlantis' seven astronauts will repair ...

Image: Inspecting Raffaello

Apr 26, 2011

In the Space Station Processing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the STS-135 crew inspects the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module with the carrier's technician.

Recommended for you

Caterpillar comet poses for pictures en route to Mars

21 hours ago

Now that's pure gorgeous. As Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring sidles towards its October 19th encounter with Mars, it's passing a trio of sumptuous deep sky objects near the south celestial pole this week. ...

Hoisting a telescope with helium

21 hours ago

Many a child has forgotten to hold tight to the string of a helium balloon only to have it escape and rise until it disappeared in the glare of the sun. Helium balloons want to rise, but launching a balloon ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

freethinking
1 / 5 (2) Jul 05, 2011
How sad it is that the USA can no longer put a man into space.

ChiefOfGxBxL
not rated yet Jul 07, 2011
How sad it is that the USA can no longer put a man into space.

Not true-- the US will always have the power to put a man into space, it's just that we won't temporarily. NASA is looking into cheaper, more reliable vehicles to transport crews into space, such as the Falcon 9 rocket by SpaceX, an all-American private company. This rocket can hold 7 people, and the last time NASA ever launched 7 people at one time was on Challenger. NASA needs to give up its bulky space shuttles to move onto something new. These new rockets will be much cheaper, allowing even more launches by NASA; they plan on using them by 2015.