• 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)...
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