NASA's Atlantis Space Shuttle has launched into space and thus marking the beginning of the end of the space shuttle era.

Following the current mission, the three space shuttles and a prototype will find their way to museums across the country. The next time astronauts launch from U.S. soil is uncertain.

NASA is hoping to get a new program, with private contractors in place, by the end of the decade. Until then, U.S. astronauts will hitch a ride with Russian Soyuz space ships.

Here are the Photos of NASA's Atlantis Shuttle