Thu, Aug 07, 2008
Will Be In Place For Possible Rescue Mission
A vital -- and, hopefully, unnecessary -- component for the
upcoming space shuttle mission to service the Hubble Space
Telescope will soon be in place. Lockheed Martin delivered Space
Shuttle External Tank-129 to NASA Wednesday, shipping the 15-story
tank from the Michoud Assembly Facility via enclosed barge at about
5 pm Wednesday evening, bound for Kennedy Space Center (KSC).
ET-129 will be in place and will serve, if needed, as part of
the rescue mission to support the Hubble Space Telescope launch
currently scheduled October 8. Otherwise, ET-129 is currently
slated to fly with Orbiter Endeavour on the next International
Space Station mission on November 10.
Less than one month ago, Lockheed Martin delivered another tank,
ET-127, which will serve as the flight tank for the Hubble mission
with Space Shuttle Atlantis. That tank was in place in time to meet
NASA's original schedule for the Hubble mission, which called for
liftoff on August 28... but a number of modifications to tanks
delayed delivery of the ET-129 tank,
as ANN reported earlier this year.
The Space Shuttle placed the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit
in 1990, and astronauts will mark this fifth and final servicing
trip to the telescope so it can continue unraveling the mysteries
of the universe through 2013 or beyond.
Solid Rocket Booster retrieval ship Liberty Star will tow ET-129
from Gulfport 900 miles across the Gulf of Mexico and around
Florida, arriving at KSC on or about Monday, August 11.
Lockheed Martin builds the External Tank at the NASA Michoud
Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Michoud is also working on the
next generation of human-rated spacecraft such as Orion, and
pursuing contracts for future launch vehicles like the planned
heavy-lift Ares V launch vehicle.
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