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45th Space Wing Supports Successful Final Shuttle Launch

Shuttle Atlantis lifts off July 8 at 11:29 a.m. (EDT) from Pad 39 A at Kennedy Space Center, FL. Members of the 45th Space Wing provided Eastern Range support for the historic STS-135 mission, the final flight of NASA's Space Shuttle program. (Courtesy photo by Alan Walters/awaltersphoto.com)

Shuttle Atlantis lifts off July 8, 2011, at 11:29 a.m. (EDT) from Pad 39 A at Kennedy Space Center, FL. Members of the 45th Space Wing provided Eastern Range support for the historic STS-135 mission, the final flight of NASA's Space Shuttle program. (Courtesy photo by Alan Walters/awaltersphoto.com)

Air Force 45th Space Wing Leadership in the Morrell Operations Center Control Room 2, Cape Canaveral AFS, FL, provide flawless Eastern Range support for the successful launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis July 8, 2011. NASA, the wing and their Mission Partners supported STS-135, the final mission of the Space Shuttle program. (Air Force photo/Matthew Jurgens)

Air Force 45th Space Wing Leadership in the Morrell Operations Center Control Room 2, Cape Canaveral AFS, FL, provide flawless Eastern Range support for the successful launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis July 8, 2011. NASA, the wing and their Mission Partners supported STS-135, the final mission of the Space Shuttle program. (Air Force photo/Matthew Jurgens)

Shuttle Atlantis lifts off July 8 at 11:29 a.m. (EDT) from Pad 39 A at Kennedy Space Center, FL. Members of the 45th Space Wing provided Eastern Range support for the historic STS-135 mission, the final flight of NASA's Space Shuttle program. (Courtesy photo by Alan Walters/awaltersphoto.com)

Shuttle Atlantis lifts off July 8, 2011, at 11:29 a.m. (EDT) from Pad 39 A at Kennedy Space Center, FL. Members of the 45th Space Wing provided Eastern Range support for the historic STS-135 mission, the final flight of NASA's Space Shuttle program. (Courtesy photo by Alan Walters/awaltersphoto.com)

Crowds of U.S. Air Force members and their guests at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., watch the final launch of a space shuttle July 8, 2011, from the 45th Space Wing VIP Viewing Area on the NASA Causeway, as Shuttle Atlantis roars into the sky. The success of STS-135 marked the culmination of three decades of support for NASA Space Shuttle missions by the wing, other Air Force units and government agencies, and their mission partners. (U.S. Air Force photo/Eric Brian)

Crowds of U.S. Air Force members and their guests at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., watch the final launch of a space shuttle July 8, 2011, from the 45th Space Wing VIP Viewing Area on the NASA Causeway, as Shuttle Atlantis roars into the sky. The success of STS-135 marked the culmination of three decades of support for NASA Space Shuttle missions by the wing, other Air Force units and government agencies, and their mission partners. (U.S. Air Force photo/Eric Brian)

Air Force members and their guests at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., watch the final launch of a space shuttle July 8, 2011, from the 45th Space Wing VIP Viewing Area on the NASA Causeway, as Shuttle Atlantis roars into the sky. The success of STS-135 marked the culmination of three decades of support for NASA Space Shuttle missions by the wing, other Air Force units and government agencies, and their mission partners. (Courtesy photo/Ron Trevino)

Air Force members and their guests at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., watch the final launch of a space shuttle July 8, 2011, from the 45th Space Wing VIP Viewing Area on the NASA Causeway, as Shuttle Atlantis roars into the sky. The success of STS-135 marked the culmination of three decades of support for NASA Space Shuttle missions by the wing, other Air Force units and government agencies, and their mission partners. (Courtesy photo/Ron Trevino)

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection boat patrols the waters off Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., during the last space shuttle launch July 8, 2011, from Kennedy Space Center. U.S. Air Force, Coast Guard and CBP personnel support space launches on the Eastern Range by securing the launch hazard area and restricted airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo/Julie Dayringer)

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection boat patrols the waters off Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., during the last space shuttle launch July 8, 2011, from Kennedy Space Center. U.S. Air Force, Coast Guard and CBP personnel support space launches on the Eastern Range by securing the launch hazard area and restricted airspace. (U.S. Air Force photo/Julie Dayringer)

The Cape Canaveral Air Force Station entry marquee on the NASA Causeway congratulates the Launch Team for the final launch of a NASA Space Shuttle July 8, 2011. The successful STS-135 mission by Orbiter Atlantis marked the culmination of three decades of support of the shuttle program by the 45th Space Wing, other Air Force units and government agencies, and their mission partners on the Eastern Range. (U.S. Air Force photo/Eric Brian)

The Cape Canaveral Air Force Station entry marquee on the NASA Causeway congratulates the Launch Team for the final launch of a NASA Space Shuttle July 8, 2011. The successful STS-135 mission by Orbiter Atlantis marked the culmination of three decades of support of the shuttle program by the 45th Space Wing, other Air Force units and government agencies, and their mission partners on the Eastern Range. (U.S. Air Force photo/Eric Brian)

Staff Sgt. Andres Tovar and K-9 Ciro, 45th Security Forces Squadron, provide crowd safety and security at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., for the final launch of a NASA Space Shuttle July 8, 2011. The successful STS-135 mission marked the culmination of three decades of support of the shuttle program by the 45th Space Wing, other Air Force units and government agencies, and their mission partners on the Eastern Range. (U.S. Air Force photo/Eric Brian)

Staff Sgt. Andres Tovar and K-9 Ciro, 45th Security Forces Squadron, provide crowd safety and security at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., for the final launch of a NASA Space Shuttle July 8, 2011. The successful STS-135 mission marked the culmination of three decades of support of the shuttle program by the 45th Space Wing, other Air Force units and government agencies, and their mission partners on the Eastern Range. (U.S. Air Force photo/Eric Brian)

Toni Bearden of Detachment 1, 45th Mission Support Group (center in red shirt), directs guests at the 45th Space Wing VIP Viewing Area on the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station end of the NASA Causeway during the final launch of a Space Shuttle July 8, 2011. The successful STS-135 mission by Orbiter Atlantis marked the culmination of three decades of support of the shuttle program by the 45th Space Wing, other Air Force units and government agencies, and their mission partners on the Eastern Range. (U.S. Air Force photo/Eric Brian)

Toni Bearden of Detachment 1, 45th Mission Support Group (center in red shirt), directs guests at the 45th Space Wing VIP Viewing Area on the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station end of the NASA Causeway during the final launch of a Space Shuttle July 8, 2011. The successful STS-135 mission by Orbiter Atlantis marked the culmination of three decades of support of the shuttle program by the 45th Space Wing, other Air Force units and government agencies, and their mission partners on the Eastern Range. (U.S. Air Force photo/Eric Brian)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. -- The U.S. Air Force's 45th Space Wing provided flawless Eastern Range support for NASA's successful launch of the final flight of Space Shuttle Atlantis today and the final Space Shuttle flight in history. The launch occurred at 11:29 p.m. (EDT) from Space Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center.

A combined team of military, government civilians and contractors from across the 45th Space Wing provided vital support to the STS-135 mission, including weather forecasts, launch and range operations, safety and public affairs.

The wing also provided its vast network of radar, telemetry, optical and communications instrumentation to facilitate a safe launch on the Eastern Range.

The four-person crew, consisting of commander Chris Ferguson, pilot Doug Hurley and mission specialists Rex Walheim and Sandy Magnus, took part in the historic flight.

Atlantis is carrying the Raffaello multipurpose logistics module to deliver supplies, logistics and spare parts to the International Space Station. The mission also is flying a system to investigate the potential for robotically refueling existing spacecraft and return a failed ammonia pump module to help NASA better understand the failure mechanism and improve pump designs for future systems.

The 12-day mission has one space walk planned.

"It's been our honor to support the Space Shuttle program the past three decades. The partnership between the Air Force and NASA here on the Eastern Range in support of human spaceflight has truly set the standard for others to follow around the world," said Brig. Gen. Ed Wilson, Commander, 45th Space Wing and Director, Eastern Range.

"We're all saddened to see this historic era come to an end, but we look forward with hope and enthusiasm for what lies ahead in our nation's human spaceflight program here on the Space Coast. Finally, we wish the crew of Atlantis a safe, successful mission and will be ready to support their landing in the days ahead" General Wilson said.

The next planned launch on the Eastern Range is a Delta IV launching the second next generation GPS Satellite (GPS-IIF) July 14.