NASA Launches Final Shuttle

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Photo: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

The Atlantis, the last operating space shuttle in NASA's fleet, launched for the final time today in Cape Canaveral. It's carrying 8,000 pounds of material to supply the International Space Station after the shuttle program ends. Its crew, Commander Chris Ferguson and three others, will be in space for twelve days, docking at the station on Sunday and delivering the goods and performing some tests. In a few years, private companies will be able to launch low-orbit spacecraft, but for the time being the only way into space — and to the ISS — will be hitching a ride with the Russians.

Space Shuttle Launches on Final Flight [ABC News]