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Crew arrives for final shuttle mission

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Atlantis astronauts arrive at Kennedy Space Center
  • Atlantis is to blast off at 11:26 a.m. Friday
  • The 12-day mission will be the final flight for NASA's shuttle program
  • Atlantis will deliver spare parts to space station

(CNN) -- The four-member crew that will fly the final space shuttle mission to end an era arrived Monday at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Commander Chris Ferguson, pilot Doug Hurley and mission specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim flew in on two T-38 jets to begin final preparations for the flight on space shuttle Atlantis, scheduled for liftoff at 11:26 a.m. Friday, according to the NASA website.

"I think I speak for the whole crew in that we are delighted to be here after a very arduous nine-month training flow, and we're thrilled to finally be here in Florida for launch week," Ferguson said before the four crew members were transported to the Astronaut Crew Quarters.

They will spend the next few days training and and being with their families before liftoff.

First crew: Tale of two heartbeats

The 12-day mission will be the 135th and final flight of the space shuttle program.

Atlantis is scheduled to deliver spare parts and supplies to the international space station to help keep the orbital lab going, NASA said. It also will fly an experimental rig to test tools and techniques to robotically refuel satellites in space, according to the agency.

After the shuttle program is grounded, NASA plans to temporarily use Russian spacecraft to ferry NASA astronauts to the space station.