Space Shuttle Atlantis Final Flight in Pictures

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Space Shuttle Atlantis Final Flight in Pictures

by Nathan Eddy

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Atlantis Backflip

Backdropped by Earth, space shuttle Atlantis is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 23 crewmember as the shuttle approaches the International Space Station during STS-132 rendezvous and docking operations.

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Enjoying Microgravity

STS-132 Mission Specialist Garrett Reisman takes advantage of the weightless environment on the middeck of the Earth-orbiting space shuttle Atlantis to get creative with his posture during flight Day 2 activities.

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Pinched Cable Discovered

While preparing for the routine inspection of Atlantis' thermal protection system on flight Day 2, the STS-132 crew discovered a cable was being pinched and preventing the sensor package pan and tilt unit from moving properly. The problem was fixed during the missions second spacewalk.

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Bay Doors Open to Space

This photograph of Atlantis' cargo bay and its vertical stabilizer intersecting Earth's horizon was provided by one of the six STS-132 crewmembers. The photo was among the initial batch of non-engineering photography downlinked from the Earth-orbiting spacecraft on its final scheduled mission.

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External Tank Falls Away

LJust before ascending to Earth orbit, Atlantis dropped off its external fuel tank, and one of the six STS-132 crewmembers on board photographed a series of still images.

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Massive plumes of smoke billow out from the launch pad as the shuttle and its crew take off for Atlantis last mission. The entire shuttle program is scheduled to be mothballed after two further missions.

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Flawless Ascent

Space shuttle Atlantis soars to orbit from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on the STS-132 mission to the International Space Station.

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This image features the Atlantis' cabin and forward cargo bay and a section of the International Space Station while the two spacecraft remain docked, photographed during the STS-132 mission's first spacewalk.

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Anchored to a Canadarm2 mobile foot restraint, astronaut Garrett Reisman continued his work during the first of three planned spacewalks for the STS-132 mission. During the spacewalk, Reisman and NASA astronaut Steve Bowen installed a second antenna for high-speed Ku-band transmissions and added a spare parts platform to Dextre, a two-armed extension for the stations robotic arm.

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In this "fish-eye" lens view, STS-132 Mission Specialist Reisman is surrounded by windows and computers in the International Space Station cupola.

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