The Space Shuttle Atlantis touched down for a final time at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., early Thursday, closing out three decades of US shuttle flights. It was an emotional day for the thousands of people who have worked on the shuttle program throughout its storied history. “Although we got to take the ride, we sure hope that everybody who has ever worked on, or touched, or looked at, or envied, or admired a space shuttle was able to take just a little part of the journey with us,” said mission commander Chris Ferguson in a NASA release. Atlantis is the last of the shuttle orbiters to retire. During its final mission, the shuttle’s crew delivered more than 9,400 pounds of spare parts to the International Space Station. Atlantis will now go on permanent display at Kennedy’s visitor complex.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.