The NASA Space Shuttle ends in 2011, after three fruitful decades of space exploration. The five spacecrafts (Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour) started to more than 130 missions, and met endless number of goals.
The first mission (Columbia orbiter) was launched on April 12, 1981.
The final mission is that of the Atlantis shuttle (OV-104, delivered to Kennedy Space Center in April 1985, maiden voyage on October 3rd, 1985)..... successfully launched today - on July 8th, 2011.
A photo of the last start of Atlantis (being the last launch of the NASA Space Shuttle ever) was captured and uploaded to AP by our member Wicho.