NASA has confirmed that the last ever launch of the iconic space shuttle will take place on Friday 8th July, after the date was fixed by Mission Managers yesterday.
Around 750,000 people are expected to flock to the roads and beaches around Kennedy Space Center, to witness Atlantis close out the orbiter program which has run for 30 years.
Inspections passed a new fuel valve on one of the main engines (which was replaced after a suspected leak) and the external fuel tank raised no issues of concern.
Four astronauts will ride Atlantis on this historic final mission – Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley, and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim. This is the first time there has been such a small crew since 1983′s STS-6 flight, with numbers restricted in case of an emergency.
All STS-135 crew members have been fitted for a Russian Sokol space suit and molded Soyuz seat liner, in the event they are forced to return to Earth via a Soyuz capsule (should the shuttle be deemed unsafe for re-entry).
This is an event not to be missed, not only are shuttle launches one of the most awe-inspiring sights to behold, but this will be the last ever time you’ll have chance to see it live. We’ll feature live coverage of the lift-off, and continued updates throughout the mission, a regular one-stop-shop for all your shuttle needs!