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Philadelphia Native Leads Shuttle Atlantis’ Historical Mission

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Shuttle Atlantis

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The space shuttle Atlantis made a historical launch Friday morning in Cape Canaveral, Florida, putting an end to three decades of NASA’s space shuttle history.

Liftoff was set for 11:26 a.m. and took place just several minutes later (see photos).

As the veteran crew climbed aboard the spacecraft shortly after 8:00 a.m, NASA was hopeful.

Commander Christopher Ferguson, a Philadelphia native, gave a thumbs up as he was strapped in after sunrise despite the still-iffy launch prospects.

On his way to the spacecraft, Ferguson had jokingly beckoned for more applause, clapping his hands at one point. The astronauts posed for pictures before boarding and Ferguson is said to be recording to the historical mission using a FlipCam he brought with him into space.

CBS 4 Miami reports Atlantis holds a year’s worth of supplies — more than 8,000 pounds — for the International Space Station.

Hear Ian Bush’s full interview with Chris Ferguson in this CBS Philly podcast…

(Click here to download)

Web extras…

Part 1

Part 2

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