Fri, Dec 05, 2008
STS-125 To Finally Fly In May 2009
Thwarted earlier this year by a series of technical problems
onboard the orbital observatory, NASA announced this week the space
shuttle Atlantis' STS-125 mission to repair the Hubble Space
Telescope has been rescheduled to launch May 12, 2009.
STS-125 is an 11-day flight featuring five spacewalks to extend
Hubble's life into the next decade by refurbishing and upgrading
the telescope with state-of-the-art science instruments and
swapping failed hardware. Scott Altman will command STS-125, with
Gregory C. Johnson serving as pilot. Mission specialists are
veteran spacewalkers John Grunsfeld and Mike Massimino, and
first-time space fliers Andrew Feustel, Michael Good and Megan
The final servicing mission to Hubble was delayed in September
when a data handling unit on the telescope failed. Since then,
engineers have been working to prepare a spare for flight. They
expect to be able to ship the spare, known as the Science
Instrument Command and Data Handling System, to NASA's Kennedy
Space Center in Florida in spring 2009.
As ANN reported, NASA had hoped to launch the
delayed mission as early as February... but was forced to bump the
launch further due to the need for extra time to make the SICDHS
The manifest has been adjusted to reflect current planning. The
next space shuttle mission, STS-119, is now targeted for launch
February 12, 2009.
NASA is also examining its planned STS-127 mission onboard
Endeavour, currently targeted for launch on May 15, 2009. While
that launch date will likely be pushed off to accommodate STS-125,
the orbiter will be on the pad in time to serve as a "lifeboat" for
the Atlantis crew should an emergency arise on-orbit.
STS-128 is targeted for August 2009, and STS-129 is targeted for
November 2009. All target launch dates are subject to change.
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