STS-135: The Last Space Shuttle Mission
Photography by George Murphy
From the dramatic launch and landing events at the Kennedy Space Center, to monitoring shuttle Atlantis’ mission to the International Space Station (ISS) from the NASA Press Center, covering this final Shuttle mission was an around-the-clock immersive experience filled with interesting people (both in front of and behind cameras and microphones), rare moments and dramatic photo opportunities that I will not soon forget. Despite the gaping hole of thirty years since I witnessed the launch of that very first space shuttle, Columbia (STS-1), this adventure brought full circle my long distance relationship with NASA and the Space Shuttle Program; and gave me a chance to catch up on Americas space efforts in a very human way.
In the bittersweet mix of deep pride and shared sadness expressed by the dedicated individuals who have worked to make the Shuttle Program so successful, I understood that whatever greatness the future may eventually hold for American’s in space, this particular moment was about the passing of a great era of achievement by our nation. I feel tremendously privileged to have been able to experience it up close and to capture some part of it, to share and remember.
Shuttle Wrap Up and Gallery Links - Link to the FirstHand Pictures blog post about the mission
The Last of the Lasts – Link to my article for the Press Democrat newspaper
www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/mpcv/index.htmlt – Link to NASA site about upcoming Orion human space flight program
LICENSING & PRINTS
These and other related images from this story are available for certain types of licensing through the FirstHand Pictures Media Exchange site. Go HERE to browse the archives for this essay and place licensing requests. For inquiries about the availability of fine art prints, or for other licensing questions, please contact us via the CONTACT page link on the left.
Photo essay by photographer George Murphy about the last Space Shuttle mission - the flight and return of STS-135 and the shuttle Atlantis.
Keywords: NASA, Atlantis, KSC, Kennedy Space Center, space flight, manned space flight, human space flight, The Space Shuttle Program