Atlantis conducted the Flight Readiness Firing of the three Main Engines on September 5, 1985 and launched on its maiden voyage on 3 October 1985, less than a month later. STS-51-J was a Department of Defense Mission and deployed two military communication satellites into stationary orbit. The mission was classified.
STS-101 in May 2000 was the first International Space Station Resupply Mission of Atlantis. Parts were delivered to the ISS using a SpaceHab Module. The Orbiter also reboosted the Station and crewmembers James Voss and Jeff Wiliams performed a Spacewalk. The first major part that Atlantis brought to the Space Station was the Destiny Laboratory which was delivered and assembled by the crew of STS-98. STS-104 gave the ISS the capability to conduct EVAs out of an US Airlock using EMUs or Russian Orlan Suits. Three Spacewalks were conducted to outfit the new module. The next two missions carried heavy Truss Elements to the Station and featured numerous spacewalks dedicated to ISS assembly and maintenance.
STS-125 was the fifth and final Hubble servicing mission. Atlantis launched on this historic flight on May 11, 2009 at 2:01 p.m. EDT. Hubble was placed in the Shuttle’s Payload Bay and five back to back Spacewalks were conducted to install new instruments and replace old ones on the Telescope allowing it to operate until at least 2014. The mission lasted just under 13 days and was a complete success.
When Atlantis completes her final mission, she will end a three decade era. Three decades dedicated to exploration and discovery, three decades of great successes and great tragedies. The Shuttle’s legacy will outlive the ending program, the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope. Atlantis and all other Orbiters will be remembered as a human accomplishment that led to even bigger historic achievements.
01/29/1979 Contract Award
03/30/1980 Structural assembly of Crew Module
11 /23/1981 Start structural assembly of aft-fuselage
06/13/1983 Wings arrive at Palmdale
12 /02/1984 Final Assembly
04/10/1984 Final Assembly complete
06/03/1985 Rollout from Palmdale
09/04/1985 Delivery to Kennedy Space Center
09/05/1995 Flight Readiness Firing
10/03/1985 First Launch (Mission STS-51-J)