Archive for Sunday, May 10, 2009

NASA clears Atlantis for launch to Hubble

May 10, 2009

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— 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 launch 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.

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