Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Atlantis prepped for final Hubble mission

Final preparations are underway for the launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
Launch is scheduled for May 12, though CNN is reporting NASA may launch a day earlier.

This is the mission which has been cancelled, rescheduled, cancelled again and rescheduled again. And for good reason.

The Hubble was placed at the highest possible orbit; the limit of the shuttle flight capability. Should there be a problem (say punctured outer-skin from a piece of foam at lift-off)a second shuttle will be launched as a rescue ship. No safe harbor at the International Space Station for this crew.
This marks perhaps the final time two shuttles will be prepped for launch at the same time. Endeavor will act as the back-up for this mission.
The last time two shuttles were on the pad at the same time was 2001.

(Photo credit)

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