Following that, NASA plans on helping launch privately run space shuttle programs.
NASA space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to blast off to the International Space Station at 11:26 am EDT on July 8, which will be the final flight in the 30-year shuttle program.
NASA is ending the space shuttle program to save its $4 billion annual operating costs and use it to develop spaceships that can travel beyond the station, such as to the moon, asteroids and eventually to Mars.
NASA is trying to avoid a lengthy gap like the one between the Apollo and shuttle programs
, which lasted from 1975 to 1981.
The Company's Government Services business unit supports NASA's Johnson Space Center providing configuration management, product engineering, and support services for both the Space Station and Space Shuttle programs
West Valley Smart Shuttle is the hardest hit of the four shuttle programs, which started in September 1997 as an experiment intended to fill a low-cost niche somewhere between a taxi and a large bus.
The city's three other Smart Shuttle programs also are radically scaling back services, but not as drastically as the West Valley Smart Shuttle.
One of the first tasks to be performed by the astronauts on this spacewalk is to remove a grapple bar and install it on a pump module, both transported to space on our ICC," said Pete Paceley, SPACEHAB Vice President Shuttle Programs