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Watch the Atlantis Launch Video, the Final NASA Shuttle Flight [VIDEO].

The Space Shuttle Atlantis launched on July 8, 2011 at 11:29 a.m., marking the last launch of NASA's Space Shuttle Program.

The crew of four - Chris Ferguson, Doug Hurley, Rex Walheim, and Sandy Magnus - will go on a 12-day mission that will deliver critical supplies to the International Space Station. Then, it's scheduled to land on July 20.

The historic launch was initially threatened by a tropical wave from the Caribbean. NASA experts previously calculated that there was a 70 percent chance of no-go. However, conditions turned out favorable and the launch took place.

The historic launched was watched by nearly a million people around Florida's so-called Space Coast. Many more watched it online or on TV.

"It truly was an awesome, spectacular launch," said Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana.

After this Atlantis mission, NASA is scrapping its focus on the International Space Station and in the low earth orbit area. It will focus instead on in-depth robotic missions to celestial bodies farther away.

It will hand over care of the International Space Station to Russians and the private sector. The video of the launch is shown below.
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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Date:Jul 8, 2011
Words:191
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