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Space Shuttle Atlantis Lands Safely on Earth

9:57 AM, Jul 22, 2011   |    comments
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MORE: Full Coverage of the Space Shuttle Atlantis

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Space shuttle Atlantis is back on Earth, and the shuttle era is over.

Residents in Collier and Lee counties were able to experience a double sonic boom shortly before landing

Atlantis and its four astronauts glided through the twilight Thursday and landed in Florida shortly before sunrise.

PICTURES: The Final Space Shuttle Landing

PICTURES: Celebration after the Landing

PICTURES: Liftoff at the Cape

PICTURES: Final Space Shuttle Atlantis Liftoff

Hundreds gathered near the runway to welcome Atlantis home and to bid NASA's 30-year space shuttle program goodbye.

Atlantis' successful space station restocking mission closed out the shuttle era.

This was a true homecoming for Atlantis.

The next-to-youngest shuttle will remain at Kennedy Space Center and be put on display.

NASA's next stop with astronauts will be an asteroid, then Mars.

Private companies will take over trips to the International Space Station.

Associated Press

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