The final mission in the Space Shuttle Program, STS-135, was launched ten years ago on July 8, 2011, from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Several members of the immediate and extended launch team that gave Shuttle Atlantis and her four-person crew a final space send-off gathered again on the tenth anniversary of the STS-135 launch to practice the choreography necessary to launch the Artemis 1 Orion/Space Launch System (SLS) vehicle for the first time.
A few of the veterans of hundreds of countdowns in the KSC Launch Control Center spoke with NASASpaceflight about some of their Shuttle history and how they’ll bring their Firing Room experience launching Shuttles to a new generation of team members as Artemis 1 approaches.
The “Day of Launch” simulation conducted on July 8, 2021 was the first integrated simulation of major launch day activities from the “go for tanking” of vehicle propellants, through terminal countdown, liftoff, ascent, and the Trans-Lunar Injection (TLI) of Orion to the Moon.
Some Artemis launch team leaders started on Shuttle before STS-1
With the four-person STS-135 crew at the controls, Space Shuttle Atlantis lifted off at 15:29:03.996 UTC on July 8, 2011 from Launch Pad 39A at KSC to ...