National Geographic

Space Shuttle Launch Coverage: Quiet Morning for Atlantis’ Last Flight

By Susan Poulton

for Breaking Orbit

The press site is quiet for the moment as the sun rises behind Atlantis, poised on the launch pad ready for her final flight. The weather looks good and there are no technical problems, but the mood here is a mixture of somber excitement as the space shuttle program begins to wind down and retirement of the individual shuttles begins. Launch of Atlantis is scheduled for 2:20pm ET with a 70% chance of good weather.

STS-132 is a space-station servicing mission that will deliver the Russian-built Mini Research Module-1 and provide a new docking port on the International Space Station (ISS) for Russian spacecraft. The crew of Atlantis

132-atlantis-sunrise.jpg—Image Credit: Susan Poulton

132-atlantis-sunrise-2.jpg—Image Credit: Susan Poulton

—Susan Poulton works for National Geographic Digital Media and is a self-proclaimed space geek. Since graduating from Space Camp in 1987, she’s been fascinated by all things space and can’t resist sharing this passion with others. A veteran of 12 launches (and over 30 launch attempts), she has attempted to see every space shuttle launch since STS-114 in 2005.