The space shuttle Atlantis lifted off on schedule Friday, bound for the International Space Station on its last scheduled mission. Here’s five fast facts about the shuttle’s history.
- Atlantis’ first flight was nearly 25 years ago. The shuttle first lifted off on October 3, 1985. Since then, Atlantis has flown 31 missions.
- The space shuttle is named for a sailing ship that operated out of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Maryland.
- Atlantis weighs 151,315 pounds, nearly 4,000 pounds lighter than the space shuttle Columbia, constructed five years prior. In man-hours, construction on Atlantis also took half as long as Columbia.
- The shuttle was originally scheduled to be scrapped in 2008, when it was due to be stripped down for parts. However, in 2007, NASA gave the shuttle a reprieve for another two years, decommissioning it in 2010.
- This last flight, Atlantis’ 32nd, will deliver a Russian-made docking module and spare parts to the International Space Station. A crew of six astronauts are manning the space shuttle for the 12-day mission.