Space Shuttle Atlantis makes her maiden flight (1985)

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Tuesday, 3 October 2017

1985 -

On October 3, 1985 Space Shuttle Atlantis was launched for her first flight. Being NASA’s fourth space-rated space shuttle her mission was to explore possibilities. The flight would be the first of 33 successful missions. She is now publicly exposed in the Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida; her home base.

Lightweight Shuttle
Constructing Atlantis began three years earlier. Because of previous experience, building Atlantis took only half the time building Space Shuttle Columbia. Atlantis, weighing 151,315 pounds, was also 3.5 tons lighter than Columbia. She rolled into Kennedy Space Centre at April 13, 1985. Almost half a year later she would make her maiden flight, carrying a secret payload.

Making history
Not only during her first flight she made history. She was the shuttle that sent inter-planetary probe Galileo to Jupiter in 1989. Galileo would stay in an orbit around Jupiter for 14 years. Atlantis was also the first orbit to fly to a Russian space station in 1995. Before she was brought to rest, she was in space 307 days and flew over 125 million miles

360 trivial fact
For transporting Atlantis to the Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex, 120 lamp poles, 23 traffic lights, 56 traffic signs and a high voltage line had to be taken down temporarily. The Space Shuttle’s transportation vehicle needed 76 wheels and it took more than 5 hours to travel 10 miles. Hundreds of former astronauts and technicians escorted Atlantis on her last trip.


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