NASA still dreaming of last Atlantis launch
Pencils STS-135 mission for 28 June
NASA is still hopeful it can extend the space shuttle programme to one last launch, and has "baselined" Atlantis's STS-135 mission for a 28 June lift-off.
The agency explains:
In late December, the agency’s Space Operations Mission Directorate requested the shuttle and International Space Station programs take the necessary steps to maintain the capability to fly Atlantis on the STS-135 mission.
The Authorization Act of 2010 directs NASA to conduct the mission, and baselining the flight enables the program to begin preparations for the mission with a target launch date of June 28. The mission would be the 135th and final space shuttle flight.
If it gets a go for its final, final flight, Atlantis will carry "the Raffaello multipurpose logistics module to deliver supplies, logistics and spare parts to the International Space Station".
Atantis's first launch was on 3 October 1985, when it carried aloft a classified Department of Defense payload.