According to the reports, space shuttle, Atlantis rocketed into the orbit for its 32nd flight for Atlantis in a quarter-century. It is however, believed that this would be final mission of the space shuttle.
After thundering off its launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center the shuttle headed straight to the International Space Station on its final planned mission ending its 25-year career.
Nostalgia was evident for the shuttle workers who were standing outside the landmark Vehicle Assembly Building awaiting the launch of the first of the final three launches. The shuttle fleet would be retired later this year.
Millions of people gathered at the Space Coast beaches and causeways to get a sneak peak at the historic flight. Amonst the spectators were Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, David Letterman, host of CBS’ Late Show’ and Anatoly Perminov, head of the Russian Space Agency,
Thanking everybody, Atlantis Commander Ken Ham replied, ’Thank you to the thousands of folks out there who have taken care of this bird for a long time. If it's OK with you, we're going to take her out of the barn and take her for a few more laps around the planet".
Reports claim that the two more shuttle flights would remain. It is believed that, in order to focus on presidential-ordered trips to asteroids and Mars, NASA is ending the program.