Oct. 3, 1985: The space shuttle Atlantis embarks on its first mission, carrying a classified payload for the Pentagon.
The space shuttle Atlantis is prepped and ready to launch into space one last time, the first of three final flights for each of NASA’s soon-to-be-retired shuttles. She will carry with her six veteran astronauts, a Russian module bound for the International Space Station and a heap of unanswered questions about the future of the manned space program.
Christian Science Monitor:
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.—NASA has cleared the space shuttle Atlantis for its final planned launch on Friday afternoon as the U.S. space agency prepares to retire its aging three-shuttle fleet later this year.
Atlantis and a crew of six astronauts are poised to launch toward the International Space Station in what will be the 25-year-old shuttle’s 32nd and last planned spaceflight. Liftoff is set for Friday at 2:20 p.m. EDT (1820 GMT) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center here.