Last Towback of a Flight Worthy Space Shuttle – Atlantis Post Touchdown Photo Album


Space Shuttle Atlantis closed out NASA’s Space Shuttle Era with a safe touchdown on July 21, 2011 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at the conclusion of the STS-135 mission, the 135th and final shuttle mission.

I was extremely fortunate to be an eyewitness to history and one of the lucky few journalists permitted by NASA to follow along as Atlantis took her historic final journey back from wheels stop at Runway 15 at the Shuttle Landing Facility as a flight worthy orbiter.

A convoy of 25 specialized vehicles safe each orbiter after landing. Some four hours later, Atlantis was towed off the runway with a diesel powered tractor for about 2 miles along the tow way leading to the Orbiter Processing Facility which lies adjacent to the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at KSC.

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

Check out my Towback Photo Album below, and prior album from wheels stop at the shuttle runway earlier in the day, here:

Atlantis towed nose first from runway 15 at the Shuttle Landing Facility at KSC.
Credit: Ken Kremer (
Atlantis towback from shuttle landing strip on July 21, 2011. Credit: Ken Kremer
Atlantis and post landing convoy vehicles. Credit: Ken Kremer
Impressionistic Atlantis. Credit: Ken Kremer
Convoy of 25 specialized vehicles tow Atlantis from the runway to the Orbiter Processing Facility.
Credit: Ken Kremer
Convoy crew waves to media. Credit: Ken Kremer
Convoy of 25 specialized vehicles tow Atlantis two miles along tow way from the runway to the Orbiter Processing Facility. Credit: Ken Kremer
Atlantis heads to the Orbiter Processing Facility adjacent to Vehicle Assembly Building at KSC.
Credit: Ken Kremer

Read my features about the Final Shuttle mission, STS-135:
Wheels Stop ! With Awesome Atlantis on the Shuttle Runway – Photo Gallery Part 1
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,, 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 - Follow Ken on Facebook and Twitter

View Comments

  • Best job and writing post I love it. MICR Code
    IFSC CODES Magnetic Ink Character Recognition as printed on cheque book to facilitate the processing of cheques.

  • It is nice post, I like it. Awesome efforts in contents writing. IFSC CODES IFSCstands for ‘Indian Financial System Code’. If you are in India and wish to transfer money from one bank to another within the country, you can easily do it once you know the IFSC codes of both the banks. IFSC required whether you are using RTGS, NEFT or CEMS, which are different paymentsystems developed by RBI. IFSC is a 11 digit code

Recent Posts

This Is What Rolling Blackouts Look Like From Space

Extreme winter weather hit Texas hard this February. An air mass from the arctic extended…

4 hours ago

Perseverance Seen From Space by ESA’s ExoMars Orbiter

The ESA's Trace Gas Orbiter (part of the ExoMars 2020 mission) has revealed images of…

4 hours ago

ESA is Working on a Mission to Explore Caves on the Moon

Infrastructure is going to be one of the biggest components of any permanent human settlement…

4 hours ago

Parker Solar Probe Captured Images of Venus on its way to the Sun

Last summer, the Parker Solar Probe flew past Venus on its way to fly closer…

8 hours ago

A Review of “Extraterrestrial” by Prof. Avi Loeb

Professor Avi Loeb's new book, Extraterrestrial, tells the tale of how he 'Oumuamua may be…

12 hours ago

Dust Particles in the Martian Atmosphere can Create Static Electricity, but not Enough to Endanger the Rovers

Lightning is one of the most powerful forces in nature.  Up to 1 billion volts…

1 day ago