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Photos: NASA's Prepares for Final Shuttle Flight

Elmo Talks with NASA Astronaut Mike Massimino

NASA/Paul E. Alers

NASA astronaut Mike Massimino, left, and Sesame Street's Elmo speak at the STS-135 Tweetup on July 7, 2011 at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Elmo asked the astronauts questions about living and working in space.

Dragonfly and Atlantis

NASA/Bill Ingalls

A dragonfly lands at the edge of the lagoon near Launch Pad 39A on Wednesday, July 6, 2011, at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Space shuttle Atlantis sits on the pad in the distance, awaiting its July 8, 2011, liftoff on the final flight of the shuttle program, a 12-day mission to the International Space Station.

Tour Bus and Launch Countdown Sign

NASA/Bill Ingalls

A tour bus drives by a launch countdown sign inside the NASA Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday, July 6, 2011 in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Space shuttle Atlantis is set to liftoff Friday, July 8, on the final flight of the shuttle program, STS-135, a 12-day mission to the International Space Station.

Landing Practice with Shuttle Training Aircraft

NASA/Cory Huston

On July 5, STS-135 Commander Chris Ferguson and pilot Doug Hurley perform touch-and-go landings aboard a Shuttle Training Aircraft at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The craft is a Gulfstream II jet that was modified to mimic the shuttle's handling during the final phase of landing. These practice landings are a part of standard training procedures. Atlantis and its crew are scheduled to lift off at 11:26 a.m. EDT on July 8 to deliver the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module packed with supplies and spare parts to the station. STS-135 will be the 33rd flight of Atlantis, the 37th shuttle mission to the space station, and the 135th and final mission of NASA's Space Shuttle Program.

Go Atlantis

NASA/Jack Pfaller

At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, space shuttle Atlantis moves through the perimeter fence at Launch Pad 39A. Go Atlantis!

STS-135 Crew Members After Training

NASA/Kim Shiflett

After completing simulated pad emergency exit training on Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the STS-135 crew members pause for a photo. From left are Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley, Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim. The exercise is part of the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT) and related training. Atlantis and its crew are targeted to lift off July 8, taking with them the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module packed with supplies and spare parts to the International Space Station. The STS-135 mission also will fly a system to investigate the potential for robotically refueling existing satellites and return a failed ammonia pump module to help NASA better understand the failure mechanism and improve pump designs for future systems. STS-135 will be the 33rd flight of Atlantis, the 37th shuttle mission to the space station, and the 135th and final mission of NASA's Space Shuttle Program.

STS-135 Crew Members Speak To Media

NASA/Ken Thornsley

The STS-135 crew members speak to media after their arrival at NASA Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida. From left are Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim

T-38 Jets at the Shuttle Landing Facility

NASA/Kim Shiflett

High above NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the STS-135 crew members get ready to land their T-38 jets at the Shuttle Landing Facility. The STS-135 astronauts arrived at Kennedy at about 2:30 p.m. EDT on July 4 for final preparations for space shuttle Atlantis' STS-135 mission to the International Space Station.

Ferguson and Hurley Practice Landings

NASA/Cory Huston

At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, STS-135 Commander Chris Ferguson (left) and Pilot Doug Hurley walk onto Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility to practice touch-and-go landings in a Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA). An STA is a Gulfstream II jet that is modified to mimic the shuttle's handling during the final phase of landing. Ferguson and Hurley will practice landings as part of standard procedure before space shuttle Atlantis' launch to the International Space Station. Atlantis and its crew are scheduled to lift off at 11:26 a.m. EDT on July 8 to deliver the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module packed with supplies and spare parts to the station. The STS-135 mission also will fly a system to investigate the potential for robotically refueling existing satellites and return a failed ammonia pump module to help NASA better understand the failure mechanism and improve pump designs for future systems. STS-135 will be the 33rd flight of Atlantis, the 37th shuttle mission to the space station, and the 135th and final mission of NASA's Space Shuttle Program.

Aboard a Shuttle Training Aircraft

NASA/Cory Huston

STS-135 Commander Chris Ferguson and Pilot Doug Hurley perform touch-and-go landings aboard a Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. An STA is a Gulfstream II jet that is modified to mimic the shuttle's handling during the final phase of landing.

Flight Readiness Review

Jim Grossmann

In the Operations Support Building II at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Space Shuttle Program and mission managers meet for the traditional Flight Readiness Review, a thorough assessment of preparations for the mission. The June 28 meeting is designed to produce a number of key decisions about Atlantis' STS-135 mission, including the announcement of an official launch date. Atlantis and its crew are targeted to lift off July 8, taking with them the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module packed with supplies and spare parts to the International Space Station. The STS-135 mission also will fly a system to investigate the potential for robotically refueling existing satellites and return a failed ammonia pump module to help NASA better understand the failure mechanism and improve pump designs for future systems. STS-135 will be the 33rd flight of Atlantis, the 37th shuttle mission to the space station, and the 135th and final mission of NASA's Space Shuttle Program.

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