Hubble telescope repair will be last hurrah for space shuttle

Saturday, April 25, 2009 - 04:21 in Astronomy & Space

• Swansong of programme raises doubts over success • Last chance for Nasa to win back public supportIt's a deep space mission, more ambitious in scope than anything essayed for almost 40 years. The measure of the risk is that when the Nasa space shuttle takes off next month for its last hurrah a second capsule will sit on the launchpad in case an unprecedented rescue mission is needed.When seven astronauts board the Atlantis shuttle on 11 May for an 11-day mission to repair the ailing Hubble telescope, they will be aware of the formidable task ahead. Five spacewalks to replace broken parts. No space station nearby as a refuge. Earth more than 350 miles below. But the significance of the Hubble repair mission goes much further than the technical challenges facing the crew. This mission amounts to the swansong of the shuttle, the culmination of a 30-year, $170bn (£115bn)...

Read the whole article on The Guardian - Science

More from The Guardian - Science

Latest Science Newsletter

Get the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!

Check out our next project, Biology.Net