On Thursday 21st, 2011 the space shuttle Atlantis landed back on Earth. This was the ending of the shuttle program that finished a succession of 33 space missions. Atlantis had started its missions after the space shuttle Columbia disaster in 1985 at John Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Atlantis had orbited the Earth 4,848 times since the 1st mission i.e. more than 525 times the distance from Earth to the Moon. In 2007 the Atlantis carried out the longest mission that lasts 14 days in June and in 2009 it flew seven -member crew to the Hubble Space Telescope. This was a really successful voyage with five space walks for 37 hours to install new cameras, batteries and components to repair the telescope. The total number of individuals that flew with the space shuttle Atlantis during the 33 missions is 155.
Once the Atlantis is decommissioned, it will be exhibited at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. It has been planned to keep the Atlantis suspended as if it were back in orbit around the Earth with some digital projections of the planet rotating. All this will be in a 64,000 square-foot facility planned to begin in 2012 with the exhibit opening in 2013.