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Last time: two shuttles at the same time on the launch pad

After Atlantis is transferred to Launch 39A, Endeavor will launch on Friday to Launch 39B, where it will serve as a rescue spacecraft in case something goes wrong with the Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission and then it will be transferred to 39A to perform a servicing mission to the International Space Station in November

Endeavor and Atlantis on two launch pads at the same time. A rare event and this time is also the last time
Endeavor and Atlantis on two launch pads at the same time. A rare event and this time is also the last time

This is a very rare event, but this time is really the last time. Two shuttles are currently on two NASA launch pads at the Kennedy Space Center. The space shuttle Endeavor completed a journey of about 7 km inside the Kennedy Space Center on Friday at seven in the morning local time to launch pad 39B, and this is the first time that any shuttle (Endeavour in this case) will be used as a rescue shuttle.

Atlantis, standing on launch pad 39A is preparing for the Hubble Space Telescope upgrade mission scheduled for October 10 (although the exact date may still be subject to change). Since Atlantis will not make it to the International Space Station known as a "safe haven" in case of an emergency, Endeavor will be on standby in case a rescue mission is required. After Endeavor is released from the rescue standby mission, it will then be transferred to launch 39A in preparation for the STS-126 mission to the International Space Station. This mission is scheduled for November 12th.

so far have happened 17 cases In history where two shuttles stood at the same time on the launch pad. List in this link and also some beautiful pictures.

This week there was also a small glitch in the preparations for the repair mission of the Hubble Space Telescope. The problems began when a cleaning system connected to the container that stores new batteries and a camera designed for the telescope penetrated insulating material into the sheet protecting the container inside the cargo deck. Work to examine the tank and clean it will delay its transfer to the Atlantis shuttle at the launch pad for at least 24 hours. While the possibility of delaying the launch by another day is still open, NASA is still sticking to the Oct. 10 deadline until managers get a better sense of how long the fix will take.

If you were wondering why Endeavor would be transferred to launch 39A, it is because the launch will undergo renovations to prepare it to launch Ares missiles as part of the Constellation program. Yes, the launch will technically be able to launch the shuttle, but NASA prefers to launch 39A afterwards to avoid problems. And even if the shuttle program is extended to shorten the gap between the end of the shuttle flights and the start of the Constellation project, the shuttles will never again take off after launch 39B.

For the news in Universe Today

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