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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – On Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, space shuttle Atlantis' payload bay doors are closed around the hardware for the STS-125 mission to service NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.  The hardware includes the Flight Support System with the Soft Capture mechanism and Multi-Use Lightweight Equipment Carrier with the Science Instrument Command and Data Handling Unit, or SIC&DH; the Orbital Replacement Unit Carrier with the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, or COS; an IMAX 3D camera; and the Super Lightweight Interchangeable Carrier with the Wide Field Camera 3.  Atlantis' crew will service NASA's Hubble Space Telescope for the fifth and final time. The flight will include five spacewalks during which astronauts will refurbish and upgrade the telescope with state-of-the-art science instruments. As a result, Hubble's capabilities will be expanded and its operational lifespan extended through at least 2014. Launch is scheduled for 2:01 p.m. EDT on May 11.  Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2009-3017

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – On Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, space shuttle Atlantis' payload bay doors are closed around the hardware for the STS-125 mission to service NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. The hardware includes the Flight Support System with the Soft Capture mechanism and Multi-Use Lightweight Equipment Carrier with the Science Instrument Command and Data Handling Unit, or SIC&DH; the Orbital Replacement Unit Carrier with the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, or COS; an IMAX 3D camera; and the Super Lightweight Interchangeable Carrier with the Wide Field Camera 3. Atlantis' crew will service NASA's Hubble Space Telescope for the fifth and final time. The flight will include five spacewalks during which astronauts will refurbish and upgrade the telescope with state-of-the-art science instruments. As a result, Hubble's capabilities will be expanded and its operational lifespan extended through at least 2014. Launch is scheduled for 2:01 p.m. EDT on May 11. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett KSC-2009-3017

 
 
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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – On Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, space shuttle Atlantis' payload bay doors are closed around the hardware for the STS-125 mission to service NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. The hardware includes the Flight Support System with the Soft Capture mechanism and Multi-Use Lightweight Equipment Carrier with the Science Instrument Command and Data Handling Unit, or SIC&DH; the Orbital Replacement Unit Carrier with the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, or COS; an IMAX 3D camera; and the Super Lightweight Interchangeable Carrier with the Wide Field Camera 3. Atlantis' crew will service NASA's Hubble Space Telescope for the fifth and final time. The flight will include five spacewalks during which astronauts will refurbish and upgrade the telescope with state-of-the-art science instruments. As a result, Hubble's capabilities will be expanded and its operational lifespan extended through at least 2014. Launch is scheduled for 2:01 p.m. EDT on May 11. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

The Space Shuttle program was the United States government's manned launch vehicle program from 1981 to 2011, administered by NASA and officially beginning in 1972. The Space Shuttle system—composed of an orbiter launched with two reusable solid rocket boosters and a disposable external fuel tank— carried up to eight astronauts and up to 50,000 lb (23,000 kg) of payload into low Earth orbit (LEO). When its mission was complete, the orbiter would re-enter the Earth's atmosphere and lands as a glider. Although the concept had been explored since the late 1960s, the program formally commenced in 1972 and was the focus of NASA's manned operations after the final Apollo and Skylab flights in the mid-1970s. It started with the launch of the first shuttle Columbia on April 12, 1981, on STS-1. and finished with its last mission, STS-135 flown by Atlantis, in July 2011.

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08/05/2009
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Kennedy Space Center, FL
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NASA
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