Last Space Shuttle Comes Home, Ends 30-Year Era - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Last Space Shuttle Comes Home, Ends 30-Year Era

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - The commander of the space shuttle Atlantis says after 30 years of flights, the shuttle has "earned its place in history."

He spoke after the pre-dawn landing today that marked the end of the space shuttle program.

The early hour didn't keep 2,000 people from gathering near the Florida landing strip for today's landing. Thousands more packed the Kennedy Space Center for the historic event.

This was a true homecoming for Atlantis. The next-to-youngest shuttle will remain at Kennedy Space Center and be put on display.

Private companies are getting ready to take over the job of sending spacecraft into orbit and back. It will be at least three to five years before Americans are again launched from U.S. soil. NASA's next stop with astronauts will be an asteroid, then Mars.
   

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