After 30 years of space travel, Nasa’s shuttle programme came to a end when the space shuttle Atlantis made its final landing on planet Earth. Atlantis touched down at Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 5.57am local time (10.57am BST) watched by several hundred spectators near the runway and will now go on display at the Kennedy Space Center as a museum piece.
See pictures of the final Atlantis landing below:
Atlantis departed the International Space Station on Tuesday, after restocking it with a year’s worth of supplies. One of the major highlights of its last journey, noted on Wednesday, was the construction of the station, a nearly one million-pound science outpost that took 12.5 years and 37 shuttle flights to build.
Nasa is now working with private companies that are eager to take over cargo runs and astronaut flights to the space station. The first supply trip is expected to take place by the end of 2011 with the long-term destination being outer-space although that would take a minimum of 3 to 5 years to come to fruition. Other long-term destinations include sending astronauts to an asteroid by 2025 and to Mars the following decade.