“We have a home up there, and we’re destined to be up there and we’re destined to go beyond low-Earth orbit, perhaps set up a colony on the Moon and go on to Mars.”
Chris Ferguson, commander of STS-135, ‘Final Space Shuttle Crew Profiled,’ NASA TV, 24 June 20
From the BBC:
The 135th and final space shuttle mission has lifted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
Space shuttle Atlantis was launched into history at 1129 local time (1529 GMT; 1629 BST) on Friday.
The 12-day mission will ferry 3.5 tonnes of supplies to the International Space Station.
Upon its return, the 30-year space shuttle programme will come to a close, with Atlantis and the other two shuttles retired to museums.
A few stats about the Shuttle missions:
135 missions (33 for Atlantis)
355 astronauts taken into space 1981
870000000km flown by the fleet
2.5 million moving parts on the shuttle and its boosters
The mission patch:
Whatever your views on the space programme, I hope you will join me in wishing the crew of the Atlantis well on their mission and above all else a safe return to earth.