Thu, Sep 25, 2008
Two Remaining Shuttle Flights Bumped Four Days Apiece
NASA conceded Wednesday that delays related to Hurricane Ike
will push back the next mission of the shuttle Atlantis by four
days. The agency's first launch opportunity for the repair and
upgrade mission to the Hubble space telescope is now set for 2210
Eastern time on October 14.
Ike struck the Gulf coast of Texas on September 13, and forced
the Johnson Space Center in Houston to close.
"While vehicle processing at Kennedy continues on schedule, the
lost week of training and mission preparation due to the impact of
the storm led to the decision to slip the dates," NASA said
The shuttle Endeavour will also be delayed four days, and is now
scheduled for launch on November 16. Atlantis won't be cleared for
launch until Endeavour is also ready, in case Endeavour is needed
on short notice for a rescue mission.
The precaution is employed whenever astronauts are sent to
service Hubble, since the orbiting telescope has no emergency
facilities to protect the crew of a visiting shuttle.
NASA still hopes to complete five shuttle launches this year, in
order to stay on track to complete all its planned missions before
the shuttle fleet is retired in 2010.
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