Space Shuttle Atlantis on the launchpad. Credit: Mike Deep for Universe Today.

Gallery: Atlantis, the Last Shuttle on the Launchpad

Article Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

by

[/caption]

It was the ultimate experience for a space enthusiast. Universe Today photographer Michael Deep had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the last shuttle that will ever sit on a launchpad and head to space. Enjoy some unique views of space shuttle Atlantis before she goes down into history as the final shuttle to launch to space.

And stay tuned all week for great photos and articles to chronicle the final shuttle launch: Universe Today photographers Alan Walters, Mike Deep, and David Gonzales as well as writers Ken Kremer and Jason Rhian are on location at Kennedy Space Center to provide full coverage.

Sunrise at launchpad 39A. Credit: Mike Deep for Universe Today.

A view of Atlantis from the gantry. Credit: Mike Deep for Universe Today.

A view of the walkway to enter the shuttle. Credit: Mike Deep for Universe Today.

Atlantis on the launchpad. Credit: Mike Deep for Universe Today

Unique view of shuttle Atlantis on the pad. Credit: Mike Deep for Universe Today.

The shuttle's SRBs get the stack off the ground. Credit: Mike Deep for Universe Today

The view from the top of launchpad 39A at KSC. Credit: Mike Deep for Universe Today.

Atlantis. Credit: Mike Deep for Universe Today.

Looking down at Atlantis from the gantry. Credit: Mike Deep for Universe Today.

A wide-angle view of Atlantis on the launchpad. Credit: Mike Deep for Universe Today.

, ,



Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
bdlaacmm
Guest
bdlaacmm
July 5, 2011 3:43 PM

Good riddance to the space shuttle! This uber-expensive, resource-hogging white elephant has chained us to Low Earth Orbit for decades now. We could have had colonies on the Moon by now, had it not been for that pointless albatross. Time to move along – the planets beckon!

Lawrence B. Crowell
Member
Lawrence B. Crowell
July 5, 2011 6:33 PM
I greet the end of the shuttle period with mixed feelings. I agree that the shuttle has been largely an expensive way to perform gymnastics in orbit. I went from teen years with the shuttle until now, so this has been the big manned space program through my adult life. Now it is almost over. The problem is there is nothing clear on the drawing board that will head us out to the moon or beyond. Further, even if there were there has not been a clear compelling case for that. Putting human boots on the moon seems an awfully expensive thing to do when we can have almost real time telepresence with robots there. I could well… Read more »
Lights in the Dark
Guest
July 6, 2011 2:31 AM

I 100% agree.

Oh, and I will also be at the launch (although not as close as Mike Deep!) for coverage! smile

Lights in the Dark
Guest
July 6, 2011 2:31 AM

I 100% agree.

Oh, and I will also be at the launch (although not as close as Mike Deep!) for coverage! smile

Rob Hemmings
Guest
Rob Hemmings
July 5, 2011 6:51 PM

Yes, time to move on. However, let us not forget that without the shuttle we would have had to find ways to launch 5 Hubble Space Telecopes (as replacements) as no other craft, past or planned, was or will be capable of servicing that magnificent instrument as the shuttle has done those 5 times.
Colonies on the Moon are interesting and may lead to new discoveries, but the HST has done more for science than it was possible to even imagine before it was launched (and fixed..)

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
July 6, 2011 3:01 AM
“We could have had colonies on the Moon by now, had it not been for that pointless albatross.” And how would those colonists (never mind their hardware) have gotten to LEO to begin with? (and neither are we ‘finished’ with LEO) The Shuttle didn’t live up to its original cost and schedule promises, that’s all too true. What RLV would you have done in its place? You understand that you still need a regular and economical means of reaching LEO, ‘unexciting’ and ‘uninspiring’ as that may be (even Columbus needed a good harbor, and we don’t have the equivalent of that, yet), in order to execute these grand plans, right? Beyond a certain point, even the cheapest ELV… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
July 9, 2011 3:06 AM
colonies on the moon? your crazy! do some research before you speak! impossible! radiation is to high on the moon for humans to ever set foot on! (unless we find a way to block the radiation) if we supposedly went to the moon back in the late 60’s early 70’s with the technology we had back then, why in the hell wouldn’t we have been back there? why wouldn’t we build a 100 million dollar settlement on the moon instead of a floating space station?? why wouldn’t we put the Hubble on the moon??? why ? sooooooo many questions! open your eyes and look at the whole picture instead of all you narrow minded people out there that… Read more »
bdlaacmm
Guest
bdlaacmm
July 6, 2011 3:03 AM

Rob, we wouldn’t have ever needed the Hubble space Telescope if we had established lunar colonies. We could have put the scope on the Moon, where it would have had a nice fixed platform to operate from. (As well as mechanics on hand all the time to fix/upgrade things as needed. No need for expensive repair missions.)

swakker
Guest
July 8, 2011 1:06 PM
wpDiscuz