NASA shuttle Atlantis launched into space today, ending America’s 30-year history of spaceflight as we know it. There was a slight delay before lift-off due to a slight camera glitch, but then everything went off smoothly.
As for the mission, the four astronauts onboard will deliver supplies and spare parts to the International Space Station. The shuttle is scheduled to return on July 20, properly timed with the 42nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Two years ago, NASA announced plans to retire its whole fleet of shuttles and focus resources on making ships to go deeper into outer space (the End of the Universe?). NASA’s goal is to get us to Mars and its moons by the mid-2030s.