Traffic backs up as spectators watch Atlantis shuttle launch
On Friday, vehicles lined roadways surrounding NASA's Kennedy Space Center, including state Route 405 in Titusville, Fla., which became a parking lot as drivers stopped on the road or pulled off to watch the final launch of the Atlantis space shuttle.The members of the Atlantis shuttle crew are shuttle commander Capt. Christopher J. Ferguson of the Navy, pilot Lt. Col. Douglas G. Hurley of the Marines and mission specialists Sandra H. Magnus, an engineer, and Rex J. Walheim, a retired Air Force colonel. As part of Atlantis' 12-day mission, the shuttle is carrying one year's worth of supplies and spare parts weighing nearly 8,000 pounds to the International Space Station. This mission marks the 46th docking by a shuttle at the space station, which took place late Sunday morning.During Friday's historic event, the countdown clock was halted just 31 seconds before launch; however, the shuttle eventually took off 2.5 minutes behind schedule. The shuttle reached orbit in 8.5 minutes and is situated about 240 miles above the Pacific Ocean. In addition, a piece of NASA's first space shuttle, Columbia, launched on April 12, 1981, was integrated into one of Atlantis' boosters. Photo submitted.