Press Release

Florida’s Space Coast Welcomes Space Shuttle Atlantis

By SpaceRef Editor
April 12, 2011
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WASHINGTON, DC – Today, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden announced that Central Florida’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) will be the permanent home for Space Shuttle Atlantis, OV-104, after the Orbiter is officially retired from duty later this year. Since the inception of America’s human space flight program, nearly every manned mission to space has launched from Florida’s Space Coast, making Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral both the center of our national human space flight program and a fitting home for a retired Space Shuttle.

“While it is disappointing to see our Shuttle fleet retire, I am excited to welcome home the Space Shuttle Atlantis which is scheduled to make its 33rd and final launch, and the Shuttle program’s culminating launch, this summer,” said Congressman Bill Posey (R-Rockledge). “Since 1985, Atlantis has performed such missions as launching satellites, deploying the Magellan probe to Venus and the Galileo probe to Jupiter; ferrying crew and cargo to Space Station Mir and the International Space Station; and performing the final servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope.”

Just as Kennedy Space Center has been an important part of the Shuttle Program, the Shuttle Program has become a part of Central Florida’s identity. From the rumble of the Shuttle lifting off, to the sonic boom felt as the Shuttle traverses Florida on its way to land at Kennedy after another accomplished mission, the Shuttle is a part of Central Florida’s culture.

“The Space Shuttles are indeed an iconic piece of American history, but they are also a fundamental part of the fabric of the Space Coast community,” said Posey. “Space Coast residents have cheered the successes the Shuttle Program has seen in its thirty years of service; and our community grieved deeply for our Astronauts and their families, as did the entire nation, when tragedy struck Shuttle Challenger in 1986 and Shuttle Columbia in 2003.”

The Visitors’ Center at Kennedy Space Center, located near some of America’s most popular tourist destinations, already attracts more than 1.5 million visitors each year. With the addition of an Orbiter, many more would flock to Kennedy to see the place where so many Astronauts bravely ventured into space.

SpaceRef staff editor.