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STS-134 mission

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Today marks the end of an era. Three decades of missions came to a close this morning as the Space Shuttle Atlantis touched down in Florida after a 13-day trip to the International Space Station. All told, the 135 space shuttle missions have racked up more than 542 million miles in low earth orbit. Commander Chris Ferguson piloted the Atlantis to a safe landing at 5:52 a.m., and the spacecraft will soon undergo processing and decommissioning. It has been an emotional experience for residents and workers along Florida's Space Coast -- some 9,000 shuttle engineers, technicians, and other staff are being laid off, and the main tourism draw for the area has come to an end. Shown here, for one last time, is a look at a full shuttle mission, STS-135, the final flight of Atlantis. Also, be sure to see The History of the Space Shuttle, an earlier entry on In Focus. [39 photos]

A view of the space shuttle Atlantis and its payload on July 10, 2011, seen from the International Space Station. At the rear of the cargo bay is the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module, packed with supplies and spare parts for the ISS. (NASA)

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This image, from NASA, documents the last spacewalk of the STS-134 mission, and the final spacewalkers in the 30-year shuttle program.

NASA astronaut Michael Fincke worked outside the station during the fourth and final spacewalk of the STS-134 mission, which lasted more than 7 hours. Fincke and fellow astronaut Greg Chamitoff completed the primary objectives for the spacewalk, including stowing the 50-foot-long boom and adding a power and data grapple fixture to make it the Enhanced International Space Station Boom Assembly, available to extend the reach of the space station's robotic arm.

Below, with components of the International Space Station in the view, NASA astronauts Andrew Feustel (right) and Michael Fincke are pictured during the STS-134 mission's third spacewalk.

They coordinated their shared activity with NASA astronaut Greg Chamitoff, who stayed in communication with the pair and with Mission Control Center in Houston from inside the station.

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