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VIDEO DESCRIPTION: Relive the launch of Columbia on STS-1, the very first space shuttle mission back on April 12, 1981.

On Thursday, July 21st 2011 at 5:56 am EDT, the Space Shuttle Atlantis will land, ending not just the 135th shuttle mission, but the space shuttle era as well. Good luck in the morning, Atlantis. We’ll be watching.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

MALE NARRATOR: For the thousands coming to view the launch, the troubles began early this morning. The roads leading to the Space Center were jammed hours before the scheduled lift off. A trip that normally takes fifteen minutes took almost three hours.

FEMALE NARRATOR: It was the second time around but there was no feeling of anti-climax around the Cape this morning. The shuttle had become a symbol. Everyone waiting for liftoff had a personal interest in seeing it go up.

BOY: I’d like to be an astronaut, but it takes a lot of courage, and I’d be scared to go up there right now.

YOUNG MAN: Anyone can see it on TV, but I have a chance to be here live, and I’d rather see it live.

OLDER WOMAN WITH SPACE SHUTTLE HAT:: I’ve seen more launches than anybody else, and everyone is just as exciting, but this means more to me than any other one I think.

FEMALE NARRATOR: It was a carnival a show that will have one run only. But it was more than that. These people were here because they believe in the shuttle and they wanted to show it.

MISSION CONTROL: We’re a few seconds away from switching to the redundant set sequencer. T minus 27 seconds. We have gone for redundant set sequencer start. T minus 20 seconds and counting. T minus 15, 14, 13. T minus 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, ,4…

Cheers from the crowd as shuttle lifts off.

ROAR of engines.

Sounds from astronauts in shuttle as it comes in for landing.

ASTRONAUT: Everything looks real good. 2500 feet. 40, 30, 20, 10, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. We’re down. Touchdown.  

MISSION CONTROL: Unofficial touchdown time. As Columbia’s landing gear touched the lake bed, Flight Deck’s instructions were prepare for exhilaration.

Applause from mission control and audience gathered to watch.

END OF AUDIO