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Atlantis Crew Wrapping Up Final Shuttle Mission

The members of the STS-135 and Expedition 28 crews participate in a farewell ceremony aboard the International Space Station in preparation for the closure of hatches between the orbital complex and space shuttle Atlantis, Jul 18, 2011

A chapter in U.S. history closes Tuesday when the Space Shuttle Atlantis departs from the space station and heads home, winding up the space shuttle program.

Atlantis' astronauts bid an emotional farewell to the space station crew, exchanging tears and hugs before closing the hatch between the two orbiters for the last time.

As going away presents, Atlantis left behind a space shuttle model and a U.S. flag that flew on the first space shuttle mission in 1981.

Atlantis is scheduled to end its 13 day mission - and the 30 year Space Shuttle program - with a Thursday morning landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.