Space Shuttle Atlantis (OV-104) is currently one among the three operational spacecraft in the Space Shuttle fleet of NASA. It was named after the two-masted boat of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts from 1930 to 1966 and it served as the primary research vessel. Atlantis maiden flight was on October 1985. Atlantis went seven straight flights to the Russian space station Mir. The spacecraft served as the on-orbit launch site for many notable and noteworthy spacecrafts, including planetary probes Magellan and Galileo. In 1991, it deployed the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory. Atlantis underwent refitting operations and modifications including the installation of a glass cockpit. Atlantis completed an 11-day mission to the International Space Station, involving three space walks in October 2002.
During September 9-24, 2005, Atlantis was scheduled for its 27th launch though the mission was suspended by NASA due to the complications during Discoverys launch of mission STS-114 and there are subsequent suspensions of all future shuttle launches. Atlantis was scheduled to fly the STS-121 mission, but the mission was flown by Discovery instead.
In the recent years, Atlantis has delivered several vital components, the U.S. laboratory module, Destiny, the Joint Airlock Quest and multiple sections of the Integrated Truss structure that serves as the backbone of the International Space Station. As of September 2006, Atlantis completed 28 flights, spent 220.40-days in space, completed 3,468 orbits and flown 89,908,732 nautical miles in total.
Atlantis is scheduled to remain operational until 2010, the Shuttle programs projected end, but is not currently scheduled for any missions further in 2008.
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