[amsat-bb] NASA Prepares...

Clint Bradford clintbrad4d at earthlink.net
Sat Sep 20 22:31:05 PDT 2008

This spectacular NASA photo from the Kennedy Space Center shows how,  
for the first time since July 2001, two shuttles are on launch pads at  
the same time. Atlantis is in the foreground on Launch Pad A, and  
Endeavour is behind it on Launch Pad B.


Endeavour was moved into position Friday so it could be on standby in  
the unlikely event that a rescue mission is necessary for the  
Atlantis' planned October 10 mission to repair NASA's Hubble Space  
Telescope, the agency said.

Once Endeavour is cleared from its rescue spacecraft duty, it's  
scheduled to move to Launch Pad A for planned November 12 mission to  
the International Space Station.

What makes the Hubble repair mission particularly dangerous is that if  
Atlantis gets seriously damaged during flight, the seven astronauts  
would be stranded--they couldn't just hang out at the International  
Space Station waiting for a ride.

Plus, as the Associated Press points out, Atlantis "faces an estimated  
1-in-185 chance that a piece of space junk or a micrometeoroid will  
cause catastrophic damage to their ship." Those odds are greater than  
for a typical shuttle flight because of Hubble's unusually high and  
debris-filled orbit.

Clint Bradford, K6LCS / KAF3359

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