Live updates as shuttle Atlantis heads toward a 5:56 a.m. ET landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Hit your "refresh" button to be sure you're seeing our latest additions:
Update at 5:11 a.m. ET. That Landing Track:
Here's a look at the approach Atlantis is set to take, across Central America and to the west of Cuba, as it heads toward the Space Center.
Update at 5:08 a.m. ET. Conditions "Perfect":
At the Space Center, skies are clear and there's 10 miles of visibility, NASA says. Conditions are "perfect."
Update at 5:06 a.m. ET. Approach Will Be From The Southwest:
Atlantis will pass over Central America and just to the west of Cuba as it heads toward the Space Center.
Update at 5 a.m. ET. Slowing:
According to NASA, "Atlantis has slowed its speed to lower itself from orbit and descend into the atmosphere for a landing at Kennedy at 5:56 a.m. It is still moving faster than 17,000 mph, but that speed will drop dramatically as the shuttle encounters the thickening air."
Update at 4:55 a.m. ET: The "de-orbit burn" is complete. NASA says Atlantis is now committed to a landing in about one hour.
Our original post:
Space shuttle Atlantis has just started a three-minute "de-orbit burn" and is beginning its descent into Earth's atmosphere. It's coming home after NASA's last shuttle mission into space.
The shuttle and its four-member crew are due to land at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 5:56 a.m. ET. They've been in space nearly 13 days.
We'll update this post as things happen. Be sure to hit your "refresh" button to see our latest additions.