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Final NASA space shuttle mission blasts-off

Atlantis takes-off for the last time

The space shuttle Atlantis blasted-off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida today, signalling the final launch of the NASA space program era.

An estimated one million people gathered at the famous Cape Canaveral site to watch Atlantis blast-off at 11:26am, marking the end of an historic, three-decade long era of space flight.

Atlantis entered orbit for the last time en-route to drop off supplies at the International Space Station before returning to Earth for 12 days and bringing to an end NASA's 135th and final shuttle mission.

Weather conditions at Kennedy had threatened to delay the launch, but Atlantis was cleared for it's 33rd flight, the first being in 1985.

Future of space travel?

The future of NASA is very much in question as the space shuttle program comes to an end. The Agency no longer has government funding to continue sending missions into space.

The future of space travel now rests with major corporations like Paypal founder Elon Musk's SpaceX and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin.