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45th Space Wing supports successful final shuttle launch

7/8/2011 - CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (AFNS) -- Members of the 45th Space Wing provided Eastern Range support for NASA's successful launch of the final flight of Space Shuttle Atlantis July 8and the final space shuttle flight in history. The shuttle launched at 11:29 p.m. (EDT) from Space Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center.

A combined team of military, government civilians and contractors from across the 45th Space Wing provided vital support to the STS-135 mission, including weather forecasts, launch and range operations, safety and public affairs.

The wing also provided its network of radar, telemetry, optical and communications instrumentation to facilitate a safe launch on the Eastern Range.

The four-person crew, consists of commander Chris Ferguson, pilot Doug Hurley and mission specialists Rex Walheim and Sandy Magnus.

Atlantis is carrying the Raffaello multipurpose logistics module to deliver supplies, logistics support and spare parts to the International Space Station. During the mission, the crew will use a system to investigate the potential for robotically refueling existing spacecraft and return a failed ammonia pump module to help NASA better understand the failure mechanism and improve pump designs for future systems.

One space walk is planned during the 12-day mission.

"It's been our honor to support the space shuttle program the past three decades," said Brig. Gen. Ed Wilson, the 45th Space Wing commander and director of the Eastern Range. "The partnership between the Air Force and NASA here on the Eastern Range in support of human spaceflight has truly set the standard for others to follow around the world.

"We're all saddened to see this historic era come to an end, but we look forward with hope and enthusiasm for what lies ahead in our nation's human spaceflight program here on the Space Coast," he said. "Finally, we wish the crew of Atlantis a safe, successful mission and will be ready to support their landing in the days ahead."

(Courtesy of 45th Space Wing Public Affairs)

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