Atlantis crew leaves historic flag aboard ISS

Space shuttle Atlantis astronauts brought with them a historic U.S. flag that flew aboard shuttle Columbia on America’s first shuttle flight, STS-1 in 1981, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said on Saturday.

“Commander Chris Ferguson will present it to the station crew as a symbol that the United States is in space to stay, with astronauts permanently living and working aboard the station for many years to come,” NASA said.

Ferguson said the flag will remain at the station until the next crew launched from the United States arrives at the outpost.

That crew will bring the flag back to Earth, until it once again is carried into space with the first crew to launch from the United States on a journey of exploration beyond Earth orbit.

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