Space shuttle Atlantis, which is on its final mission, has deployed a small, eight-pound technology demonstration satellite, NASA said in a statement.
Called PicoSat, the small satellite was deployed from a canister in the shuttle cargo bay. The satellite will relay data back to investigators on the performance of its own solar cells for analysis and possible use on future space hardware, the NASA statement said.
PicoSat was the 180th and final payload deployed in space shuttle history.
Space shuttle Atlantis lifted off on July 8 on the final flight of the shuttle program, STS-135. In this 13-day mission to the International Space Station, Atlantis carries a crew of four and the Raffaello multipurpose logistics module containing supplies and spare parts for the space station.
Atlantis was delivered to Kennedy Space Center in April 1985. It lifted off on its maiden voyage on Oct. 3, 1985, on mission 51-J, the second dedicated Department of Defense flight.
Atlantis is named after a two-masted sailing ship that was operated for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute from 1930 to 1966.