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US Space Shuttle Atlantis Lifts Off on Its Final Mission

VOA News
14 May 2010

The U.S. space shuttle Atlantis has lifted off as scheduled from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in one of the last missions of the space shuttle fleet.

Skies were clear over Florida Friday afternoon as the shuttle began its 12-day mission that will include delivering a small Russian research module to the International Space Station.

Six astronauts are aboard the shuttle, the last mission of Atlantis after 25 years in service. Only two more shuttle missions remain after Friday's launch.

NASA is retiring its shuttle fleet later this year to focus on a new strategy for space exploration. When the shuttle program ends, space station partners will rely on Russian and private rockets to ferry supplies and astronauts to the International Space Station.

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