Shuttle Atlantis put PicoSat, a US military satellite, into orbit Wednesday morning. See video below of space shuttle Atlantis leaving the International Space Station for the last time.
When NASA's space shuttles launch into orbit, they don't just carry astronauts and supplies into the final frontier. There's a lot of other weird stuff that makes the out-of-this-world journey, too. NASA's last space shuttle mission will launch Friday, July 8 on the Atlantis orbiter to deliver spare parts to the International Space Station. The mission will be the 135th and last flight for the program, which began in 1981. But over the course of 30 years, the space shuttles have flown some peculiar objects into orbit. The list of odd stuff that flew aboard the shuttles is a long one, and includes the Olympic torch, a replica of the golden spike from the First Transcontinental Railroad, and rocks from the top of Mount Everest and the surface of the moon, just to name a few. Here nine recent space oddities carried into orbit on NASA shuttles:
Atlantis launch: Despite a bleak forecast of thunderstorms and clouds, the shuttle beat the weather in a stunning midday launch, sailing into the sky on one final voyage.
Swetha P. Jasti from Olathe, Kan., keeps a tight grip while spelling her first word during round two of the National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Md.
A flawless predawn landing on Wednesday capped the penultimate flight of the US space shuttle program. With Endeavor's mission over, Atlantis is already on the launch pad.
With record-tying temperatures expected to hit 93 degrees, Patrick Devore of Pittsburgh, plays in a fountain on the north shore of Pittsburgh.