The Atlantis Space Shuttle landed safely in south Florida Thursday. Technicians and workers were on hand to tend to the shuttle and ensure its safety. Hundreds of people were on hand to watch the shuttle at its early morning landing and welcome its four-man crew home.
The flight is the last shuttle mission planned by the United States. Future missions to the International Space Station will be undertaken either by private firms, or by buying a seat on a Russian shuttle. The Empire State Building was lit up in red, white and blue to celebrate the shuttle's final trip. The U.S. decided to cancel the shuttle program because of the high cost of running them, and the numerous safety problems that they were associated with. The four shuttle ships will be placed on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.