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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Space shuttle Atlantis stands ready for launch at Kennedy Space Center's Pad 39A in the foreground, while in the background, at Pad 39B 1.6 miles away, Endeavour begins preps for a potential rescue mission to Atlantis if she is found damaged during next month's flight to the Hubble Space Telescope.
NASA / Troy Cryder

TWO BIRDS, READY FOR FLIGHT... At 3:59 AM, Pacific Time yesterday, space shuttle Endeavour arrived at Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39B to begin preps for a potential rescue mission (STS-400) if Atlantis is found damaged during her flight to the Hubble Space Telescope. Atlantis herself has been at Pad 39A since September 4, and is still on track for an October 9 launch to HST.

Space shuttle Atlantis stands ready for launch at Kennedy Space Center's Pad 39A in the foreground, while in the background, at Pad 39B 1.6 miles away, Endeavour begins preps for a potential rescue mission to Atlantis if she is found damaged during next month's flight to the Hubble Space Telescope.
NASA / Troy Cryder

If Atlantis is found to be unscathed during STS-125, Endeavour will be rolled over to Pad 39A, and begin preparations for her next official flight, STS-126. 39B will then officially be handed over to NASA’s Constellation program, and will be the site of next year’s launch of the Ares I-X rocket. Ares, in case you didn’t know, is the vehicle that will hopefully launch American astronauts back to the Moon by 2020. Hopefully.

Space shuttle Atlantis stands ready for launch at Kennedy Space Center's Pad 39A in the foreground, while in the background, at Pad 39B 1.6 miles away, Endeavour begins preps for a potential rescue mission to Atlantis if she is found damaged during next month's flight to the Hubble Space Telescope.
FLORIDA TODAY / Michael R. Brown

Sunday, September 7, 2008

BACK AT THE PAD... After several days of delays due to the approaching risk of Tropical Storm Hanna, space shuttle Atlantis finally rolled out to its Florida launch pad last Thursday. At first, I thought that NASA was being overly optimistic making this move...seeing as how there were two storms, Hurricane Ike and Tropical Depression Josephine, still brewing out there in the Atlantic. Judging from this page as of today, Josephine is gone, and Ike was only (but perilously) going to pass near the tip of southern Florida on its way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Atlantis is scheduled to launch from Kennedy Space Center at 9:33 PM on October 9 (California time), on a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope one last time. Hubble should last for 5 more years beyond 2008 if the repairs go smoothly on STS-125.

Space shuttle Atlantis arrives at Launch Complex 39A in Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on September 4, 2008.  Preparations will continue to get it ready for its October 9 launch to the Hubble Space Telescope, on flight STS-125.
NASA / Kim Shiflett