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Atlantis Crew Trains, Readies for Final Space Shuttle Flight

NASA TV(CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.) -- The four astronauts who will take part in NASA's final space shuttle mission next month are in Florida this week training and readying for their launch.

Space shuttle Atlantis' crew -- Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley, and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim -- arrived at the Kennedy Space Center Monday night to kick off their pre-launch countdown rehearsal.  Since then, the astronauts have practiced landings and emergency escape procedures, and have inspected the payloads inside the shuttle's cargo bay, according to NASA.

Speaking to reporters from the launch pad on Wednesday, Ferguson said, "I don't think that the full magnitude of the moment will really hit us until the wheels have stopped on the runway.  I'm not sure words will really be able to capture for the crew and for the entire shuttle workforce just how much the shuttle program has meant to us for the last 30 years."

Atlantis' flight, set for July 8 at 11:26 a.m. EDT, will be the final one for the space shuttle program.  The four-person crew will embark on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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