Atlantis space shuttle successfully docked with the International Space Station for one last time at 15:07 GMT yesterday. The 12-day mission will bring NASA’s shuttle program to an end.

Two days after its launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Atlantis became the 37th shuttle to dock with the ISS. Before connecting with the ISS, the Atlantis did the customary back flip to allow station crew to photograph its heat shield. The snaps will be sent to ground controllers to check for any damage.

Atlantis is carrying the Raffaello multipurpose logistics module, loaded with spares and supplies. Pilot Doug Hurley and mission specialist Sandy Magnus will today use the ISS’s Canadarm2 robot limb to shift the module from the shuttle’s cargo bay to the station’s Harmony node. Atlantis is also carrying enough replacement parts to keep the space station operating once the shuttle program is shut down.

It is carrying the Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) experiment, designed to test tools, technologies and techniques needed to mechanically refuel or otherwise re supply satellites in space.

The historic mission is headed by US Navy Capt. Chris Ferguson,  with pilot Doug Hurley, a Marine colonel,  mission specialists Sandra Magnus, an engineer, and Rex Walheim, a retired Air Force colonel.

Atlantis, the fourth space shuttle made 32 space flights in its 26-year operating history, has been in space for more than 293 days and has flown more than 194 million km.

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