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 Credits: Damian Salas
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. Michael J. Battaglia
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.
Ken Kremer, www.kenkremer.com
ROLL INITIATED: Initial maneuvers stabilize the shuttle.
Atlantis continues skyward. NASA Advertisement
PUBLIC VIEWING: Hundreds of members of the media and other privileged members of the public gathered at Cape Canaveral to watch the historic launch.
Michael J. Battaglia
A BROADER VIEW: About one million visitors watched
Atlantis lift off via NASA-TV online. NASA
LIFT-OFF! Damian Salas took this fantastic image of
Atlantis seconds after liftoff. Damian Salas
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. Michael J. Battaglia Advertisement Advertisement