April 30, 2009

Hubble Servicing Mission To Launch May 11

NASA managers completed a review Thursday of space shuttle Atlantis' readiness for flight and selected an official launch date for the STS-125 mission to upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope. Commander Scott Altman and his six crewmates are scheduled to lift off at 2:01 p.m. EDT, May 11, from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Atlantis' launch date was announced following Thursday's Flight Readiness Review. During the meeting, top NASA and contractor managers assessed the risks associated with the mission and determined the shuttle's equipment, support systems and procedures are ready for flight.

Atlantis' 11-day mission 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.

Commander Altman will be joined on the mission by Pilot Gregory C. Johnson and Mission Specialists Andrew Feustel, Michael Good, John Grunsfeld, Megan McArthur and Mike Massimino. The spacewalkers are Feustel, Good, Grunsfeld and Massimino. McArthur is the flight engineer and lead for robotic arm operations.


Image Caption: This artist's concept shows the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis. In the background is one of the most impressive massive young star clusters in the Milky Way "” the spectacular star-forming region NGC 3603 "” as imaged by Hubble. This image was produced in anticipation of the launch of STS-125, the fifth and final servicing mission to Hubble. Credits: ESA/Luis Calçada and NASA


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