Image: Space Shuttle Atlantis
John Raoux / AP

msnbc   |  May 12, 2010

Atlantis readies for final mission

NBC's Jay Barbree reports upcoming launch of shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to be its final mission, with the remainder of the shuttle fleet due to stop flying by the end of 2010.

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>>> $56 million in arizona -related investments. right now nasa is holding a news conference in advance of friday's planned launch for space shuttle " atlantis ." 2:20 eastern off it will take off. it's scheduled to be retired. later this year is scheduled to be " atlantis " final mission . they hold a hearing this afternoon on the future of america 's space program . for more on it all joined by veteran nbc news space correspondent jay barberi. good to see you. let me talk about feelings from the workers who will watch " atlantis " on the blastoff and who are worried about the future of the space program .

>> reporter: well, this afternoon you mentioned a commerce committee will be holding a hearing, tamron . neil armstrong , the first man on the moon and gene, the last man on the moon, will be testifying about america losing its first place in human spaceflight . what is a little unusual here, the space family is pretty much in step with president obama 's plans to fly beyond orbit, to go to the moon again, vicinity and eventually on to plars more so than they were with president bush 's. they are not getting the money to build the rockets to do it. that's what this hearing is about today, tamron .

>>> jay, talk to us a little about what we'll see friday, 2:20 p.m . eastern. you've seen a whole lot. i know as a journalist, you don't make it personal but i'm curious about your feelings on what we will see friday.

>> it's been my privilege to have covered all 162 flights by american astronauts in the last 50 years. and this will be 163. " atlantis 's" last flight. the next flight in september will be discovery. it will be 164. then "endeavour" is to fly mid november, early december for the final flight of the shuttle prachlt yes, i'm beginning to feel it right in here. i'm beginning to feel it right in here.

>> jay, we're feeling it with you. nobody does it better than you in covering our space program and the developments of it and the future, quite honestly as well as the past. thank you, jay. we'll talk to you hopefully on friday. thank you, jay.

>> you're welcome, tamron .