Cape Canaveral, Florida: Space shuttle Atlantis landed at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida at dawn Thursday to end a 30-year journey for NASA's shuttle programme. The shuttle also completed a 13-day cargo run to the International Space Station.
The landing strip at the Kennedy Space Centre is only a few miles away from where Atlantis will finally go on display as a museum piece.
Commander Chris Ferguson eased Atlantis onto the runway at 5:57 a.m. EDT (0957 GMT), ending a 5.2 million-mile (8.4 million-km) journey and closing a path-breaking chapter in space flight history.
"Mission complete, Houston," Ferguson informed Mission Control.
Barry Wilmore from Mission Control answered back, "We'll take this opportunity to congratulate you Atlantis, as well as the thousands of passionate individuals across this great space-faring nation who truly empowered this incredible spacecraft, which for three decades has inspired millions around the globe."
A NASA television announcer bid farewell to the craft saying, "Having fired the imagination of a generation, a ship like no other, its place in history secured, the space shuttle pulls into port for the last time."