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Atlantis took the first step towards Hubble

Atlantis is driven towards the shuttle train building, where it will be connected to the fuel tanks. The ferry was put on hibernation due to Hurricane Faye that passed through Florida about a week ago

The space shuttle Discovery makes its way atop the carrier to the assembly facility
The space shuttle Discovery makes its way atop the carrier to the assembly facility

The space shuttle Atlantis was moved in a night operation to the shuttle assembly building after it was lowered into a horizontal position at the shuttle preparation center for launch at the Kennedy Space Center, to protect it during the passage of Hurricane Faye.

At the Shuttle Assembly Facility (VAB), Atlantis will be attached to its external fuel tank and two solid-fuel rocket boosters. NASA has announced that Atlantis will be transferred to launch pad 39A next Saturday, August 30th in preparation for the final STS-125 mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope, scheduled for October 8th. The transport system carried the shuttle the distance of about 6 kilometers in about 6 hours.

And meanwhile in the launch pad itself, the construction of a protective wall against the flames was completed on August 5. As you remember, the northern protective wall of the launch pad was damaged during the launch of Discovery on May 31.

The mission will be one of the most complex known to NASA when another shuttle will wait for the second active launch, 39B for its next journey, but in the meantime it will also serve as a rescue spacecraft in case of need.

Retired astronaut Scott Altman will command the last Hubble servicing mission. His deputy and mission pilot will be Greg Johnson. The rest of the team members will have spacewalk experience - John Grunsfeld and Michael Massimo, and three who are making their first flight - Andrew Feustel, Michael Good and Megan MacArthur.

This will be Altman's fourth and second Hubble flight. He commanded the STS-109 mission that serviced the Hubble in 2002, and as pilot on the STS-90 missions in 1998 and STS-106 in 2000. This will be Johnson's first flight.

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