Thursday, April 30, 2009

Live at KSC: NASA Is "Go" For May 11 Launch

NASA just cleared shuttle Atlantis and seven astronauts for a May 11 launch on a fifth and final mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope.

Senior managers took a poll at a the conclusion of an executive-level Flight Readiness Review and firmly established the May 11 launch date.

Liftoff time that day will be 2:01 p.m.

A news conference is scheduled for 5 p.m. You can watch it live here in The Flame Trench. Simply click the NASA TV box at the righthand side of this page to launch our NASA TV viewer and live coverage.

The Atlantis astronauts aim to outfit Hubble with two new state-of-the-art science instruments, repair two others and equip the observatory with new batteries and other gear that should keep it operating in orbit for at least another five to 10 years.

Led by veteran astronaut Scott Altman, the crew includes Gregory "Ray Jay" Johnson and five mission specialists: Megan McArthur, Michael Good, Michael Massimino, Drew Feustel and John Grunsfeld.

The crew is scheduled to arrive at Kennedy Space Center on May 8. A three-day launch countdown will start up that same day.

ABOUT THE IMAGE: Click to enlarge and save the Associated Press image of Atlantis blasting off in February 2008 on a mission to deliver the European Columbus laboratory to the International Space Station.

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