NASA Video: Launch and Return of the Space Shuttle Atlantis

The Space Shuttle Atlantis (Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV‑104) is a Space Shuttle orbiter belonging to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the spaceflight and space exploration agency of the United States.[2] Constructed by the Rockwell International company in Southern California and delivered to the Kennedy Space Center in Eastern Florida in April 1985, Atlantis is the fourth operational and the second-to-last Space Shuttle built.[3][4] Its maiden flight was STS-51-J from 3 to 7 October 1985.

Atlantis embarked on its 33rd and final mission, also the final mission of a space shuttle, STS-135, on 8 July 2011. STS-134 by Endeavour was expected to be the final flight before STS-135 was authorized in October 2010. STS-135 took advantage of the processing for the STS-335 Launch On Need mission that would have been necessary if STS-134’s crew became stranded in orbit.[5] Atlantis landed for the final time at the Kennedy Space Center on 21 July 2011.

By the end of its final mission, Atlantis had orbited the Earth a total of 4,848 times, traveling nearly 126,000,000 mi (203,000,000 km) or more than 525 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon.

Atlantis is named after RV Atlantis, a two-masted sailing ship that operated as the primary research vessel for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution from 1930 to 1966.[6]