National Geographic

Space Shuttle Launch Coverage: Launch

By Susan Poulton

for Breaking Orbit

Space Shuttle Atlantis is on its way to the International Space Station (ISS) in a spectacular on time launch from Kennedy Space Center at 2:20pm ET. This marks the 32nd and final launch for the shuttle Atlantis who had its maiden voyage on October 3, 1985. Cheers and applause went up from the large crowd as Atlantis disappeared into a nearly cloudless sky. This begins a 12-day mission to the ISS for the shuttle crew.

132-launch.jpg—Image Credit: Susan Poulton

132-launch-cloud.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 13 launches (and over 32 launch attempts), she has attempted to see every space shuttle launch since STS-114 in 2005.