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Space shuttle Atlantis journeys to the
launch pad for perhaps final time


Posted: April 22, 2010

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Facing what could be the final voyage in its quarter-century of spaceflight, the shuttle Atlantis emerged from Kennedy Space Center's assembly building Wednesday night bathed in spotlights and a crowd of workers proudly watching the spaceship head toward the launch pad.

Under the current plans, Atlantis will become the first shuttle orbiter retired as the program winds down. Liftoff is scheduled for May 14 to deliver Russia's Mini Research Module 1 and an American cargo-carrying pallet to the International Space Station.

Astronaut Ken Ham will command the 12-day flight along with pilot Tony Antonelli and mission specialists Garrett Reisman, Mike Good, Steve Bowen and Piers Sellers.

Credit: Spaceflight Now photos by Justin Ray

Credit: Spaceflight Now photos by Justin Ray