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Final Launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis Suspends America’s Ability to Access Space

Washington, July 8, 2011 - Today Space Shuttle Atlantis (OV-104) made its 33rd and final launch into space marking the end of the U.S. Space Shuttle program and the end to America’s ability to access space for the foreseeable future. Upon completion of its final mission, STS-135, Shuttle Atlantis will be retired to its permanent home at Central Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.

“I salute our brave Astronauts and all of the Shuttle ground crew, engineers and technicians for their many years of service to our space program and our nation,” said Congressman Bill Posey (R-Rockledge) who as a young man worked on the Apollo Program at the Kennedy Space Center. “And while I’m delighted to have Space Shuttle Atlantis retire to the Kennedy Space Center here in Central Florida, I’m extremely saddened to see our human space flight program put on hold for the foreseeable future. I had advocated extending the program until we had a clearer path forward.”

“The Constellation program would have provided NASA and our human space flight program with a bold post-Shuttle mission, to return to the Moon and then on to Mars. Now that the President has cancelled Constellation and broken his August 2008 promise to Space Coast residents that he would close the space gap and keep America first in space, NASA has been left directionless. It’s sad to have gone from President Kennedy’s vision of beating the Russians to the Moon to the current policy of indefinitely paying the Russians to ferry U.S. astronauts to space.”

Since 1985, Space Shuttle Atlantis has performed such missions as launching satellites, deploying the Magellan probe to Venus and the Galileo probe to Jupiter; ferrying crew and cargo to Space Station Mir and the International Space Station; and performing the final servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope.

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