The Space Shuttle Atlantis (Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-104) is one of the three operational Space Shuttle orbiters in the Space Shuttle fleet belonging to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the spaceflight and space exploration agency of the United States (the other two operational Space Shuttles are the Discovery and the Endeavour). The Atlantis was the fourth operational (and the next-to-the-last) Space Shuttle to be constructed by the Rockwell International company in Southern California, and she was delivered to the John F. Kennedy Space Center in eastern Florida in April 1985. Atlantis is the only orbiter which lacks the ability to draw power from the International Space Station while docked there, it must continue to provide its own power through fuel cells.
In early 2008, the NASA Administrator, with the approval of the President and the United States Congress, decided to continue with the Atlantis making space flights until sometime in 2010, the tentatively predetermined end of the Space Shuttle's spaceflight program. This reversed a previous decision to retire Atlantis in 2008.
After its 32nd flight (STS-132), Atlantis has orbited the Earth more than 4600 times, traveling over 120 million miles in space, or more than 500 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon. One additional 5 million mile flight is planned (STS-135).
Atlantis is named after RV Atlantis, a two-masted sailing ship that operated as the primary research vessel for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution from 1930 to 1966. The 460-ton ketch carried a crew of 17 and had room for 5 scientists. The former RV Atlantis is now commissioned as an oceanographic research vessel in the Argentine Naval Prefecture under the name Dr. Bernardo Houssay and finishing a lengthy period of restoration