• Chris Ferguson, Rex Walheim Sandy Magnus and Doug Hurley finish a training session at the Johnson Space Center in 2011. When their space shuttle mission concluded a few months later, the four astronauts closed a chapter in American space history.

  • May 6, 2011 — Doug Hurley, top, and Rex Walheim train for the ascent phase of launch in the motion based simulator, which is tilted into the vertical launch position.

  • May 13, 2011 — Mission specialist Rex Walheim participates in a space walk simulation in the Virtual Reality Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center. Walheim logged more than 36 EVA hours in five spacewalks before STS-135.

  • March 11, 2011 — Chris Ferguson prepares to enter a magnetic resonance imaging machine at the UTMB Specialty Care Center at Victory Lakes as he undergoes an extensive eye examination as part of test to measure the effects of microgravity on vision.

  • April 7, 2011 — Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim work in the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Raffaello that they will deliver to the station in the Space Station Processing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center.

  • April 7, 2011 — The crew poses for a group photo under the space shuttle Atlantis in the Orbiter Processing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center – the same day that 535 United Space Alliance contractors were let go after their positions were eliminated at KSC.

  • March 30, 2011 — Rex Walheim and Chris Ferguson visit Red Square on a trip to Moscow for a suit fit check of their Russian Sokol suits that would be necessary if a problem with the shuttle required them to return from the ISS on a Soyuz capsule.

  • March 30, 2011 — Rex Walheim gets a Sokol suit fit check that includes two uncomfortable pressurization sessions and two hours in a hyperbaric chamber to simulate a near-vacuum experience at an altitude of 100,000 feet.

  • April 7, 2011 — Doug Hurley and Chris Ferguson check out the cockpit of the orbiter Atlantis in the Orbiter Processing Facility during the Crew Equipment Interface Test, the crew's first hands-on time with the orbiter they will actually fly.

  • May 20, 2011 — Doug Hurley says goodbye to his wife, fellow NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg, as she leaves for training in Russia with their 15-month-old son Jack. Nyberg launched on a Russian rocket in 2013 and spent 166 days aboard the ISS.

  • June 20, 2011 — Sandy Magnus looks out of a T-38 trainer piloted by Chris Ferguson on their way from Houston to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the final dress rehearsal before the launch.

  • June 22, 2011 — Chris Ferguson visits the historic launch pad that was the site of the deadly Apollo 1 fire in 1967, a tradition he followed before all of his launches as his way of honoring his connection to the astronauts who went before him into space.

  • June 23, 2011 — Chris Ferguson laughs as the crew plays a game of cards during a simulated launch countdown. The card game is a ritual handed down by NASA astronauts, who will not depart for the launch pad until the commander draws the losing hand.

  • June 24, 2011 — The crew prepares to go through stacks of procedure books to examine and annotate hundreds of books and cue cards that comprise all of the detailed technical steps that will be performed during the mission.

  • June 30, 2011 — Chris Ferguson, Doug Hurley, Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim laugh in response to a statement by Ferguson during the STS-135 crew press briefing at the Johnson Space Center, their final appearance before the media prior to their flight.

  • July 1, 2011 — Shuttle training instructor Daena Schumbacher gets a hug from Sandy Magnus after the crew trained for the final time in the shuttle Motion Base Simulator at the Johnson Space Center.

  • July 1, 2011 — Chris Ferguson says goodbye to his wife Sandy as he reports for quarantine as the crew quietly checked themselves into crew quarters at the Johnson Space Center. The routine quarantine period lasts for the full week heading into launch.

  • July 7, 2011 — A sea of television uplink trucks is seen in the foreground as the space shuttle Atlantis sits at launch pad 39A on the eve of the final shuttle launch.

  • July 8, 2011 — Rex Walheim, Sandy Magnus, pilot Doug Hurley and commander Chris Ferguson head to the Astrovan that will take them to the launch pad for the final space shuttle launch.

  • July 8, 2011 — The space shuttle Atlantis lifts from the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the STS-135 mission to the International Space Station, the final mission of the space shuttle program.

  • July 8, 2011 — Astronaut candidate Kate Rubins watches with fellow members of the 2009 astronaut class as Atlantis launches for the final time. The 2009 class of astronauts are the first in three decades with no American launch vehicle in their future.

  • July 8, 2011 — Atlantis rises through the clouds to reach the heavens after launching from pad 39A at 15:29 UTC, heralding the beginning of the end of America's shuttle program.

  • July 12, 2011 — While the mission was on orbit, Chief Engineer Frank Svrecek pauses in a skeletal avionics version of the shuttle that was slated to be dismantled after "wheel stop" on the final mission, but is now a Space Center Houston tram tour stop.

  • July 21, 2011 — The drag chute is deployed as the space shuttle Atlantis lands at the Kennedy Space Center for the final time, bringing an end to the space shuttle program.

  • July 22, 2011 — A large crowd of supporters welcomes home the crew of STS-135 during a ceremony for the crew of the final shuttle mission at Ellington Field in Houston.

  • July 23, 2011 — Rex Walheim prays with his family as they sit down to dinner a day after returning from the Kennedy Space Center following the final space shuttle mission.

  • July 30, 2011 — Sandy Magnus shops for groceries to restock her kitchen following her final trip to space. The crew had their share of household challenges while they in space, including broken lawn equipment, dead car batteries and flat tires.

  • July 30, 2011 — After returning home from the final shuttle mission, Chris Ferguson gets back to life on Earth as he tries to repair the family's lawn trimmer, which was broken while he was on orbit.

  • July 30, 2011 — Doug Hurley changes a flat tire in his garage as his son Jack watches as life returns to normal for the STS-135 astronauts after the final shuttle mission.

  • July 25, 2011 — Decorations left by the crew trainers greet STS-135 commander Chris Ferguson and mission specialist Rex Walheim on their first day back to the office at the Johnson Space Center.

  • Aug. 3, 2011 — A crowded auditorium of visitors watches a slideshow of the STS-135 crew during a public debrief featuring the crew at Space Center Houston.

  • Aug. 16, 2011 — Stephen Colbert thanks Doug Hurley as Chris Ferguson and Rex Walheim look on after the crew of STS-135 appeared on The Colbert Report as part of their post-flight tour

  • Aug. 17, 2011 — Rex Walheim and Chris Ferguson autograph photos for the public during an event at the Eventi Hotel in New York during their post-flight tour.

  • Nov. 2, 2011 — The astronauts who formed the crews of STS-1 and STS-135, John Young, Robert Crippen, Chris Ferguson, Doug Hurley, Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim, gather for a group photo commemorating the first and final space shuttle missions.

  • Autographs left by the STS-135 crew are seen on the Full Fuselage Trainer in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility at the Johnson Space Center. Soon after, the shuttle mock was moved to a museum in Seattle.