Shuttle crew loading space station

The space shuttle Atlantis, which tooks off for its final journey into orbit Friday, has docked with the International Space Station and its four crew are busy loading 9,000 pounds of supplies and equipment onto the station.

The shuttle is scheduled to stay in orbit for 12 or 13 days -- NASA wants to extend the mission if possible -- getting the space station fixed up. Most of the cargo is in a module called Raffaelo.

"The 21-foot long, 15-foot diameter Raffaello is packed with 9,403 pounds of spare parts, spare equipment, and other supplies -- including 2,677 pounds of food -- that will sustain space station operations for a year," NASA said ina statement.

The shuttle program is being retired after 30 years. NASA has been contracting out human space travel to private, U.S. companies. Until they can finish a new system for getting people into space, NASA will rely on Russian missions to get astronauts to and from the space station.

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