Atlantis launched on Hubble telescope repair mission

May 12th, 2009 - 1:42 am ICT by IANS  

Hubble Space Telescope Washington, May 12 (DPA) The space shuttle Atlantis blasted off from the Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida Monday on a mission to repair the ageing Hubble Space Telescope.
The fifth and last mission to repair Hubble launched at 2:01 p.m. (1801 GMT).

The seven-member Atlantis crew will undertake five spacewalks, adding two new instruments, repairing two others and replacing other hardware in frequently delicate operations.

Scientists say the upgrades, which US space agency NASA hopes will extend Hubble’s life span until at least 2014, will continue to provide clues about the origin and nature of the universe.

Since its launch in 1990, Hubble has helped scientists to place the age of the universe at 13.7 billion years, learn that black holes are at the centre of most galaxies, monitor planetary formation and discover that the universe is expanding at an ever-faster pace.

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