Space shuttle mission

Space shuttle Atlantis is seen over the Bahamas prior to a perfect docking with the International Space Station at 10:07 a.m. (CDT). Part of a Russian Progress spacecraft which is docked to the station is in the foreground.

NASA
CNHI

President Barack Obama called the crew of the Atlantis on Friday afternoon as they continued in the space program's final shuttle mission.

The president saluted the combined crews of the Atlantis and the International Space Station, and noted that it also "ushers in an exciting new era to push the frontiers of space exploration and human spaceflight," NASA said.

NASA officials said the Atlantis' mission is continuing as planned; the crew members are transferring cargo to the space station and expect to be 70 percent complete by Saturday.

The shuttle launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on July 8, and it will return July 21, when it will be decommissioned in favor of the development of other craft that can travel further into space.

Watch video of the president's call to the astronauts, and check out images of Atlantis' final flight.