Sunday, January 14, 2007

Last Mission for Atlantis

In September 2008, the Space Shuttle orbiter Atlantis will fly a servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope, arguably the greatest Shuttle-enabled science triumph in NASA's history.
Then the orbiter will retire, the first of NASA's shuttles to pack in in as the program heads for shutdown in 2010. Atlantis will be used as needed as a source of parts for the last two orbiters. Its fate after 2010 is undecided.
There no longer seems any doubt the controversial decision to retire the Shuttle in 2010 will be executed. Remaining missions, except the Hubble flight, are all taken up with service and support of the International Space Station (ISS). Soon, work will begin to convert one Shuttle launch pad at Kennedy Space Center, Pad 39B, for the Ares rocket booster that will fly the new Crew Exploration Vehicle.

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