Weather holds off
Final blast off! Atlantis successfully launches in last space shuttle journey,ending an era
The launch of NASA's final space shuttle from Kennedy Space Center Friday went off without a major hitch.
Approximately 70 hours after the countdown clock began, the Atlantis blasted off on its journey to the International Space Station with its four-member crew, dubbed the "Closeout Crew."
The mission is referred to as STS-135 and is Atlantis' 33rd and final flight — and more significantly, the last mission in the U.S. space shuttle program.
The Atlantis arrived at the Kennedy Space Center in 1985. The shuttle performed the first docking with the Russian Mir space station in 1995, the first launch with an external camera mounted to it in October 2002, and the final servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope in May 200, among other missions.
The countdown paused briefly with 31 seconds to launch, but its historic journey resumed for NASA's 135th and final space shuttle program mission after a storied 30-year history.