NASA clears Atlantis for Monday launch to Hubble

May 10, 2009 By MARCIA DUNN , AP Aerospace Writer
STS-125 Commander Scott Altman waves to photographers before boarding one of the Shuttle Training Aircraft early Saturday May 9, 2009 at the Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Seven astronauts are making final preparation for their 12-day mission on the space shuttle Atlantis that includes the fifth and final servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

(AP) -- After months of delay, NASA cleared space shuttle Atlantis for a Monday launch to the Hubble Space Telescope.

Mission managers concluded Saturday that Atlantis is ready to take off on the long-awaited Hubble repair mission, the fifth and final one. Shuttle Endeavour is also in good shape at the other pad; it's on standby in case Atlantis is damaged during the flight and its seven astronauts need to be rescued.

Weather forecasters gave good odds for launching Atlantis: 80 percent. What's more, things were looking more encouraging at the emergency landing site in Spain, where only a slight chance of rain is expected Monday. Liftoff time is just after 2 p.m.

Atlantis' crew will perform five spacewalks on consecutive days to install new cameras and equipment at Hubble, and to repair some broken science instruments.

The mission had been scheduled for last October, but a critical failure at the orbiting observatory put everything on hold.

"Atlantis has been on the ground for a while, so that team is really anxious to fly. Hopefully, we'll do that Monday," said launch director Mike Leinbach.

Astronauts last visited Hubble in 2002. NASA wants to replace some of the telescope's old parts - like batteries and gyroscopes - so it will keep beaming back breathtaking views of the cosmos for another five to 10 years. Scientists expect those pictures to be even more spectacular - and go even further back in time - with the addition of new science instruments going up on Atlantis.

Altogether, the mission is costing NASA just over $1 billion.

---

On the Net:

NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/mission-pages/shuttle/main/index.html

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Kazakh satellite to be launched into orbit

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA begins launch countdown for Hubble mission

May 08, 2009

(AP) -- NASA began the countdown for its final trip to the Hubble Space Telescope on Friday as the astronauts who will attempt the daunting repairs arrived at the launching site.

Rescue shuttle moved to launch pad just in case

Apr 17, 2009

(AP) -- Space shuttle Endeavour is on a launch pad, ready to rocket off on a rescue mission if shuttle Atlantis needs help when it flies to repair the Hubble Space Telescope next month.

NASA Updates Shuttle Target Launch Date for Hubble Mission

Jun 07, 2007

NASA managers officially are targeting Sept. 10, 2008, for the launch of the fifth and final space shuttle servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. During the 11-day flight, Atlantis' seven astronauts will repair ...

Rescue shuttle at launch pad for Hubble trip

May 10, 2009

(AP) -- In what's expected to be the last time ever, both of NASA's shuttle launch pads are occupied. Atlantis is on one, primed for a flight this coming week to the Hubble Space Telescope. Endeavour sits ...

Shuttle Atlantis Rolls to Launch Pad for Hubble Mission

Sep 04, 2008

At 9:19 a.m. EDT this morning, space shuttle Atlantis began its slow trek from Kennedy Space Center's massive Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39A, a journey that should take approximately six hours. ...

Recommended for you

Kazakh satellite to be launched into orbit

17 hours ago

Kazakhstan's first-ever Earth observation satellite is to be fired into orbit next week from the European spaceport in Kourou in French Guiana, launch company Arianespace said.

Habitable exoplanets are bad news for humanity

20 hours ago

Last week, scientists announced the discovery of Kepler-186f, a planet 492 light years away in the Cygnus constellation. Kepler-186f is special because it marks the first planet almost exactly the same size as Earth ...

First-of-its-kind NASA space-weather project

Apr 23, 2014

A NASA scientist is launching a one-to-two-year pilot project this summer that takes advantage of U.S. high-voltage power transmission lines to measure a phenomenon that has caused widespread power outages ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Habitable exoplanets are bad news for humanity

Last week, scientists announced the discovery of Kepler-186f, a planet 492 light years away in the Cygnus constellation. Kepler-186f is special because it marks the first planet almost exactly the same size as Earth ...

Professional and amateur astronomers join forces

(Phys.org) —Long before the term "citizen science" was coined, the field of astronomy has benefited from countless men and women who study the sky in their spare time. These amateur astronomers devote hours ...

Google+ boss leaving the company

The executive credited with bringing the Google+ social network to life is leaving the Internet colossus after playing a key role there for nearly eight years.

Facebook woos journalists with 'FB Newswire'

Facebook launched Thursday FB Newswire, billed as an online trove of real-time information for journalists and newsrooms to mine while reporting on events or crafting stories.