April 30, 2009

NASA approves May 11 space shuttle launch

The U.S. space agency says it's completed a readiness review of space shuttle Atlantis and approved its launch to upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration officials said the launch for the STS-125 mission has been set for 2:01 p.m. EDT May 11 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The readiness review included the assessment of risks associated with the mission and the determination that the shuttle's equipment, support systems and procedures are ready for the flight.

The 11-day mission by Commander Scott Altman and his six crewmates will include five spacewalks to refurbish Hubble with state-of-the-art science instruments. After the astronauts' visit, the telescope's capabilities will be expanded and its lifetime extended through at least 2014.