The last ever launch of NASA’s space shuttle blasted STS-135 Atlantis into orbit yesterday. Weather concerns had worried mission controllers throughout the long countdown, but as the lift-off time approached the weather broke and all teams polled go for launch.
The 135th and final space shuttle mission lifted off from Kennedy Space Center at 11:29 EDT (15:29 GMT/16:29 BST) on Friday 8th July.
On its 12 day mission Atlantis will deliver 3.5 tonnes of supplies to the ISS.
The thousands of spectators lining the roads and beaches around KSC began cheering as the countdown clock got closer to lift-off, but at T-minus 31 seconds the timer stopped.
During the 3 minute delay NASA technicians visually checked the complete retraction of the gaseous vent arm (which failed to automatically signify control of complete retraction), before the countdown resumed.
Today the crew have carried out the first stage of visual inspections on the wing heat shields using the orbiter’s robotic arm, with the second stage “back-flip manoeuvre” on approach to the ISS due before docking on Sunday (at 11:07 EDT (15:07 GMT/16:07 BST).
NASA Technicians will then review the images taken and launch footage video to determine if any damage to the heat tiles has occurred.
When Atlantis returns to Earth it will signal the end of the 30 year space shuttle program, with all 3 remaining shuttles of the orbiter fleet being retired to museums.
Docking may not be covered live on NASA TV, but the hatch opening is scheduled at 13:19 EDT (17:19 GMT/18:19 BST)
You can view the full STS-135 NASA TV shedule here