Wheels Stop ! With Awesome Atlantis on the Shuttle Runway – Photo Gallery Part 1

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At Wheels Stop with Atlantis ! Here ended the Shuttle Era

A few short hours after the touchdown of Space Shuttle Atlantis closed out NASA’s Space Shuttle Era, myself and a small group of extremely lucky journalists and photographers were invited by NASA to journey to ‘Wheels Stop’ – Runway 15 at the Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center for a thrilling and once in a lifetime eyewitness experience to the exact spot where Atlantis rolled to a stop.

After 30 years and 135 missions, the landing of the Final Flight of Space Shuttle Atlantis on July 21, 2011 at 5:57 a.m. concluded America’s Space Shuttle Program. The Grand Finale was commemorated with banners, quilts and celebrations at Runway 15.

The STS-135 crew comprised of Shuttle Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley and Mission Specialists Sandra Magnus and Rex Walheim.

It’s truly an honor and a privilege to be granted this extremely rare and magnificent opportunity to witness history first hand by the folks at NASA and the Kennedy Space Center – and share this with the public. Thank you !

See my Atlantis ‘Wheels Stop’ photo album below and more upcoming from Universe Today colleague Alan Walters

Space Shuttle workers and NASA managers commemorate the exact spot where NASA’s Space Shuttle Era ended at the shuttle landing facility after three decades and 135 missions on July 21, 2011 at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Credit: Ken Kremer (kenkremer.com)
Atlantis - The Final Flight. Banner displayed below the nose of Atlantis at Runway 15. Associate Administrator for Space Operations Bill Gerstenmaier (4th from right) poses with shuttle workers and managers at Runway 15 on July 21, 2011 at KSC. Credit: Ken Kremer
Atlantis - The Final Flight. Banner displayed below the nose of Atlantis at Runway 15 with shuttle workers and managers at Runway 15 on July 21, 2011 at KSC. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and KSC Center Director Bob Cabana at far right. Credit: Ken Kremer
Awesome Atlantis nose and crew cabin at wheels stop for the Space Shuttle Era on Runway 15 at KSC. Credit: Ken Kremer
Quilt with all 135 shuttle mission patches displayed with Atlantis at shuttle runway after final landing at KSC. Homemade quilt crafted by shuttle workers. Credit: Ken Kremer

Technicians at work reconfiguring Atlantis after the final landing and draining residual cryogenic fuels during normal post flight processing activities at the shuttle runway. Credit: Ken Kremer

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden speaks to reporters at Runway 15. Credit: Ken Kremer

KSC Center Director Bob Cabana speaks with reporters at the Shuttle Runway. Credit: Ken Kremer
Associate Administrator for Space Operations Bill Gerstenmaier inspects Atlantis belly and wheels at KSC shuttle runway. Credit: Ken Kremer
Ken Kremer at ‘wheels stop’ with Space Shuttle Atlantis at landing Runway 15 at KSC - a thrilling and once in a lifetime eyewitness experience at the bittersweet end of NASA’s Space Shuttle Era. Credit: Ken Kremer

Read my features about the Final Shuttle mission, STS-135:
Ghostly Landing of Atlantis Closes America’s Space Shuttle Era Forever
Love of Science Drives Last Shuttle Commander – Chris Ferguson Brings Science Museum to Orbit
Revolutionary Robotic Refueling Experiment Opens New Research Avenues at Space Station
Water Cannon Salute trumpets recovery of Last Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters – Photo Album
Shuttle Atlantis Soars to Space One Last time: Photo Album
Atlantis Unveiled for Historic Final Flight amidst Stormy Weather
Counting down to the Last Shuttle; Stormy weather projected
Atlantis Crew Jets to Florida on Independence Day for Final Shuttle Blastoff
NASA Sets July 8 for Mandatory Space Shuttle Grand Finale
Final Shuttle Voyagers Conduct Countdown Practice at Florida Launch Pad
Final Payload for Final Shuttle Flight Delivered to the Launch Pad
Last Ever Shuttle Journeys out to the Launch Pad; Photo Gallery
Atlantis Goes Vertical for the Last Time
Atlantis Rolls to Vehicle Assembly Building with Final Space Shuttle Crew for July 8 Blastoff

Ken Kremer

Dr. Ken Kremer is a speaker, research scientist, freelance science journalist (KSC area,FL) and photographer whose articles, space exploration images and Mars mosaics have appeared in magazines, books, websites and calendars including Astronomy Picture of the Day, NBC, FOX, BBC, SPACE.com, Spaceflight Now, Science and the covers of Aviation Week & Space Technology, Spaceflight and the Explorers Club magazines. Ken has presented at numerous educational institutions, civic & religious organizations, museums and astronomy clubs. Ken has reported first hand from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, NASA Wallops, NASA Michoud/Stennis/Langley and on over 80 launches including 8 shuttle launches. He lectures on both Human and Robotic spaceflight - www.kenkremer.com. Follow Ken on Facebook and Twitter

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