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|Contract award||29 January 1979|
|Named after||R/V Atlantis (AGOR-25)|
3 October 1985 - 7 October 1985
9 June 2007 - present
|Number of missions||28|
|Time spent in space||243.992 days|
|Number of orbits||3,654|
|Distance travelled||152,534,078 km|
|ISS dockings||8 (currently docked)|
Atlantis made its first flight in October 1985, conducting classified military activities, one of five such flights. In 1989, Atlantis deployed two planetary probes, Magellan and Galileo, and in 1991, it deployed the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory.
Beginning in 1995, Atlantis made seven straight flights to the Russian space station Mir. On the second Mir flight, it delivered a docking module, and on the subsequent flights, it conducted astronaut exchanges.
From November 1997 to July 1999, Atlantis underwent refitting operations, with about 165 modifications made to the shuttle, including the installation of the Multifunction Electronic Display System, or glass cockpit. It has made six flights since then, all involving assembly activities at the International Space Station.
In October 2002, Atlantis and the six-person crew completed an 11-day mission to the International Space Station that involved three space walks.
NASA scheduled the 27th launch for Atlantis for September 2005, during the window of September 9 - 24. It was ruled unsafe to fly the mission and the launch window was missed, due to the complications during Discovery's launch of mission STS-114 and NASA's subsequent suspension of all future shuttle launches. Atlantis was the designated STS-300 rescue orbiter for the STS-114 mission. Atlantis was scheduled to fly the STS-121 mission, but it was decided that Discovery would fly the mission instead.
Atlantis is scheduled to be retired in 2008 after its last scheduled flight, STS-125, the final servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. It would be used to supply parts for Discovery and Endeavour through the anticipated end of the Space Shuttle program in 2010. Atlantis was chosen for early decommissioning to avoid a costly overhaul process that was slated to begin in 2008
The STS-117 crew enters the International Space Station for the first time.
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Atlantis Performs Flip!
Shuttle Atlantis performs a Rendezvous Pitch Maneuver to examine heat shield.
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Liftoff of Atlantis!
After a smooth countdown, Space Shuttle Atlantis begins the STS-117 mission with a spectacular climb toward orbit.
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Atlantis Returns to Launch Pad
Space Shuttle Atlantis made its second journey to the launch pad in preparation for STS-117.
|Atlantis Returns to Launch Pad
Image right: Space Shuttle Atlantis The Space Shuttle Atlantis rides a crawler transporter to Launch Complex 39A on Tuesday, May 15, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The shuttle, pointed skyward in its launch position and connected to the external tank and a pair of solid-fueled booster rockets, is scheduled to lift off June 8 on a mission to the International Space Station. The rollout was the second time Atlantis headed for the pad in preparation for STS-117. A freak hail storm damaged the external tank as it stood on the launch pad in February. The shuttle returned to the Vehicle Assembly Building for several weeks of repairs to the dinged foam insulation. Photo credit: NASA/Troy Cryder