This Space Shuttle Atlantis with Full Stack is a 1/100th scale of the Space Shuttle Atlantis—the fourth orbiter to become operational at Kennedy Space Center. Named after the primary research vessel for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts from 1930 to 1966, this double-mast, 460-ton ketch was the first US vessel to be used for oceanographic research. The spaceship Atlantis has benefitted from lessons learned during the construction and testing of Enterprise, Columbia and Challenger before her. For instance, Space Shuttle Atlantis is 6,974 pounds lighter than Columbia and took 50% fewer man hours to build. From November 1997 to July 1999, Atlantis underwent 165 modifications, including a drag chute, new plumbing lines, over 800 new heat protection tiles and blankets, and new insulation for the main landing gear doors.
Atlantis made its first flight in October 1985, conducting classified military tests. In 1989, it deployed two planetary probes, Magellan and Galileo, and in 1991, it deployed the Arthur Holley Compton Gamma Ray Observatory.
Atlantis made seven straight flights to the Russian space station Mir starting in 1995. In October 2002, after a four-year hiatus, the space shuttle and its six-person crew completed the eleven-day STS-115 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) including three space walks. On June 8, 2007, Atlantis launched on its longest-ever mission, STS-117, which lasted almost 14 days. The spaceship will be retiring in 2010 after it completes STS-131. Its last mission will be carrying the Docking Cargo Module to the ISS.