Space Shuttle Atlantis Enroute To Hubble Space Telescope

Space Shuttle Atlantis Enroute To Hubble Space Telescope

NASA successfully launched the space shuttle Atlantis on its STS-125 servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope today. In 2004, then-NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe canceled this mission partially due to safety concerns in the wake of the 2003 space shuttle Columbia accident.

He supported the concept of servicing Hubble robotically instead of using astronauts. A 2004 National Research Council report concluded, however, that robotics were not sufficiently advanced for such a complex mission, and astronauts were needed. During his confirmation hearing in April 2005, incoming NASA Administrator Michael Griffin vowed to conduct the mission if it could be done safely.

NASA decided to have a second space shuttle ready to launch on an adjacent launch pad in case Atlantis suffers damage that could imperil the mission and the crew required rescue. The space shuttle Endeavour is on standby to launch if needed.

For continuing coverage of the mission, visit NASA’s website for the STS-125 mission.

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