Shuttle Atlantis is set to launch on July 8 at 11:26 a.m. ET from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  Launch pad technicians are in the process of closing out the shuttle's payload bay in preparation for the liftoff, reported NASA.

The Atlantis space shuttle mission will last for 12 days, during which 8,000 pounds of spare parts will be delivered to the International Space Station. The shuttle will also test whether it is possible to robotically refuel existing orbiting satellites.

Atlantis will be NASA's last space shuttle launch ever.  Between 500,000 and 750,000 people are expected to show up along the Space Coast in Florida to watch the July 8 event, according to NASA, reported VOA.

We are very honored to be in this position there's many people who could be here. We just happened to win the dice fell you know our names were facing up. So we consider ourselves fortunate, lucky, said mission commander Chris Ferguson.

The US Space Shuttle Program (STS) was launched 1972 by President Richard Nixon.  In total, 134 flights were made.

The program is being retired after decades of service to originally make way for Project Constellation, which sought to possibly go to Mars, among other things.  However, this project has been canceled.

Now, four private companies are competing to be the successors of the Space Shuttle Program, according to WESH TV.