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Shuttle lift-off: The ride of your life

8 July 2011 Last updated at 14:18 BST

As Nasa launches its final space shuttle mission, a veteran astronaut has recalled the exhilarating experience of being thrust into space.

Australian-born Dr Andy Thomas has completed four missions on the orbiter and logged more than 177 days in space, including several months on the Mir Space Station.

Dr Thomas spoke to ABC News about the unique view from the flight deck during what he described as "the ride of your life".