The fourth of the US space shuttles. It made its first flight on 3 October 1985 with a crew of five.
In 1989 Atlantis launched the Galileo spacecraft on a six-year journey to the planet Jupiter and in 1995 undertook the first of seven missions to dock with the Russian space station Mir, exchanging crew members. After a refit in 1997–8, it resumed service with a series of launches from mid-1999 in support of the International Space Station (ISS), and on 14 February 2001 successfully delivered the US science laboratory module Destiny to the ISS. After the Columbia shuttle tragedy in 2003, when the shuttle broke up on re-entry, Atlantis was one of the three remaining shuttles, along with Discovery and Endeavour. It was named after a research vessel at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts active from 1930 to 1966.
Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.