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Atlantis docks with ISS for last time


NASA's Space Shuttle Atlantis docking with the International Space Station. Photo: NASA.

WASHINGTON (BNS): The US space shuttle Atlantis successfully docked Sunday at 1507 GMT with the International Space Station (ISS) for the final time in the shuttle programme's history.

Commander Chris Ferguson gently eased Atlantis into its parking slip on the station's Harmony node as the spacecraft soared 370 km over the Pacific Ocean.

"Atlantis arriving. Welcome to the station for the last time," Flight Engineer Ron Garan said after the ceremonial ringing of the station’s bell, according to a NASA news report.

Atlantis became the 37th shuttle to dock with the ISS, two days after its liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Atlantis is carrying the Raffaello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module, a large cylinder containing more than 3.5 tonnes of food, other supplies and spare parts designed to sustain the station.

The primary task of the crew will be to move the 12.5-ton Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module from the shuttle cargo bay to the Earth-facing port on the station’s Harmony node.

Space shuttle Atlantis lifted off July 8 on the final flight of the shuttle programme, STS-135, a 12-day mission to the International Space Station.

The STS-135 astronauts are: Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley, and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim.

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