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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Star-spangled Banner in Space

Atlantis STS-135 crew with International Space Station astronauts.  They are holding the flag that flew on STS-001 in 1981.  Photo courtesy NASA.

The Atlantis shuttle astronauts gave the crew of the International Space Station a very special gift today.  They gave them a very special American flag.

This flag flew aboard the very first shuttle flight.  It flew aboard mission STS-001, on shuttle Columbia in 1981.  Atlantis is the last shuttle mission, STS-135.

The astronauts will keep this special American flag on the International Space Station.  Hopefully, they will give it away again one day soon.  They have been asked to give it to the next astronauts that launch from the United States.

When Atlantis lands, we will have no more shuttle flights.  America will have no spacecraft to launch into space.  Let's hope that we fly again VERY SOON!

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
(Words to the U.S. national anthem)

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