Although it took the equivalent of about 40,000,000 horsepower to launch the space shuttle Atlantis and its cargo into space, the orbiter, affectionately referred to as the “flying brick,” returned to Earth today as a powerless gliderâ€”Captain Sully style! It landed safely at the Kennedy Space Center this morning with the help of a little gravity, aerodynamics, and a very steady hand.
They spent about 10 days in space and were even one astronaut heavy, as the return crew included astronaut Nicole Stott, who was chilling on the International Space Station for 91 days. This marks the last shuttle mission for the year and leaves only five more before the program is officially scrapped in favor of an updated, but more old school approach.
Photo courtesy of NASA