Space Shuttle Atlantis Arrives At KSC Visitors Center

By  //  November 4, 2012

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BREVARD COUNTY • KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLORIDA – Space shuttle Atlantis has arrived at its new home at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

Atlantis arrives at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. (NASA TV image)

The 10-mile journey began at about 6:30 a.m. EDT and arrived at the complex around 6 p.m. on Friday. Nov. 2. To clear the way for Atlantis, 120 light poles, 23 traffic signals, 56 traffic signs and one high-voltage line were temporarily removed prior to start of Atlantis’ daylong journey.

Atlantis made a couple of stops along the way, one near the center’s headquarters building for the signing ceremony where Atlantis’ title was transferred to the visitor complex and the orbiter was officially retired.

Atlantis made a second stop at Space Florida’s Exploration Park for several hours to allow employees and guests to get an up-close view of Atlantis and to hear what NASA has in store for the future.

Space shuttle Atlantis moves down the Kennedy Parkway on its 76-wheeled orbiter transporter system on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012. In the background is the Vehicle Assembly Building. (NASA/Kim Shiflett image)

Atlantis, known to space employees as Orbiter Vehicle-104, arrived at Kennedy in April 1985. The spacecraft traveled 125,935,769 miles during 33 spaceflights, including 12 missions to the International Space Station. Its final flight, STS-135, closed out the Space Shuttle Program era with a landing on July 21, 2011.

Since then, engineers have been preparing Atlantis for public display as part of NASA’s transition and retirement processing of the space shuttle fleet.

A grand opening of Atlantis’ new display at the visitor complex is planned for July 2013. The vehicle will be displayed as if in flight, tilted at an angle of 43.21 degrees, with its payload bay open and robotic arm extended.