Mon, May 11, 2009
Historic Launch Set To Be Busiest Yet
At Sunday morning's final countdown status briefing from NASA's
Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA Test Director Charlie
Blackwell-Thompson said that the countdown timeline is on target
and "Atlantis is ready to fly." Final preparations continued
throughout the day at Launch Pad 39A, and the rotating service
structure that surrounds Atlantis was rolled back into its launch
position late in the afternoon.
Shuttle Weather Officer Kathy Winters improved on the forecast,
now giving the team a 90-percent chance to launch Atlantis at 2:01
p.m. EDT tomorrow without weather interfering.
Altman will command the final space shuttle mission to service
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, and retired Navy Capt. Gregory C.
Johnson will serve as pilot. On Sunday, STS-125 Altman and Johnson
once again practiced landings in the Shuttle Training Aircraft as
the entire crew readies for their mission to service NASA's Hubble
Space Telescope. Mission specialists rounding out the crew are:
veteran spacewalkers John Grunsfeld and Mike Massimino, and
first-time space fliers Andrew Feustel, Michael Good and Megan
During the 11-day mission's five spacewalks, astronauts will
install two new instruments, repair two inactive ones and perform
the component replacements that will keep the telescope functioning
into at least 2014.
In addition to the originally scheduled work, Atlantis also will
carry a replacement Science Instrument Command and Data Handling
Unit for Hubble. Astronauts will install the unit on the telescope,
removing the one that stopped working on Sept. 27, 2008, delaying
the servicing mission until the replacement was ready.
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