The second most important part of the shuttle landing this morning (first being a safe reentry and landing) was the dialogue between the shuttle commander and mission control.
Here’s an excerpt of their final exchange:
“Mission complete, Houston,” said STS-135 commander Chris Ferguson after Atlantis came to wheel stop. “After serving the world for over 30 years, the space shuttle has earned its place in history. It’s come to a final stop.”
“We’ll take this opportunity to congratulate you, Atlantis,” replied capcom Barry “Butch” Wilmore in mission control in Houston, “as well as the thousands of passionate individuals across this great, space faring nation who truly empower this incredible spacecraft, which for three decades has inspired millions around the globe. Job well done, America.”
“Hey thanks, Butch, great words, great words,” Ferguson said. “You know, the space shuttle has changed the way we view the world and it’s changed the way we view our universe. There are a lot of emotions today, but one thing is indisputable: America’s not going to stop exploring. Thank you Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Endeavour and our ship, Atlantis. Thank you for protecting us and bringing this program to such a fitting end. God bless all of you, God bless the United States of America.”
Also, as the shuttle was landing, NASA Public Affairs Officer George Diller had these eloquent final words:
Having fired the imagination of a generation, a ship like no other, its place in history secured, the space shuttle pulls into port for the last time, its voyage at an end.
Video Note: The final exchange begins at 10 minutes and 05 seconds.