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Final Space Shuttle Launch in Pictures [Slide Show]

The July 8 launch of Atlantis was as visually spectacular as any prior shuttle liftoff, but the images are particularly compelling for their historic import
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GODSPEED, ATLANTIS:

As Atlantis disappeared, the viewing public scattered to receive news that the shuttle's solid rocket boosters separated smoothly and that main-engine cutoff occurred without incident, enabling the shuttle to achieve orbit without any issues.....[ More ]

INTO THE CLOUDS:

The forecast for a successful launch had not been promising all week, but the clouds cleared sufficiently on the morning of July 8 to allow for a successful liftoff on the first attempt.....[ More ]

ROLL INITIATED:

Initial maneuvers stabilize the shuttle.....[ More ]

LAUNCH CONTINUES:

Atlantis continues skyward.....[ More ]

PUBLIC VIEWING:

Hundreds of members of the media and other privileged members of the public gathered at Cape Canaveral to watch the historic launch.....[ More ]

A BROADER VIEW:

About one million visitors watched Atlantis lift off via NASA-TV online.....[ More ]

LIFT-OFF!

Damian Salas took this fantastic image of Atlantis seconds after liftoff.....[ More ]

ATLANTIS ON LAUNCH PAD:

Scientific American 's Michael J. Battaglia snapped this shot of Atlantis on the launch pad during a pre-launch press tour of the vehicle on the afternoon of July 7, 2011.....[ More ]

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