Thursday, 4 pm, July 21, 2011 The crew of STS-135 / Space Shuttle Atlantis successfully landed shortly before 6 am on their first orbit opportunity on July 21, 2011, on runway 15 in Florida.
After safeing the vehicle, a press conference was held on the runway, and then Atlantis was towed back to Orbiter Processing Facility #2 where a walk-around for NASA / Kennedy Space Center eomployees was held.
For many of these employees the landing was bittersweet. A large number will be laid off on Friday, July 22, 2011.
Following the employee ceremonies, Atlantis was returned to its hangar (OPF #2) and preparations to turn her over to the Kennedy Visitors Space Center sometime in 2012 will begin.
STS-135 was the last of 135 shuttle missions over the past 30 years.
NASA has no near term plans to fly manned missions again and has, in effect, ceded the American manned space program to the Russians and the Chinese.
On Friday, July 22, 2011 … the four Astronauts will fly to Houston in the morning and will attend a final public celebration of their successful mission in Hangar 990 at Ellington Field near the Johnson Space Center at 4 pm.
This gathering is open to the public. Doors open about 3:30 pm.