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Atlantis to move to launch pad on Aug 30


WASHINGTON (BNS): On Saturday, August 30, Space Shuttle Atlantis is expected to roll out to Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Atlantis is scheduled to lift off on October 8 to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

As per the schedule, the first shuttle motion out of Kennedy's Vehicle Assembly Building is expected to take place at 12:01 a.m. EDT. The fully assembled space shuttle, consisting of the orbiter, external tank and twin solid rocket boosters, has been mounted on a mobile launcher platform and will be delivered to the pad atop a crawler-transporter. The crawler will travel at a speed of 1 mph during the 3.4-mile journey. The entire journey is expected to take nearly six hours. It was only early this month that repairs to Launch Pad 39A's flame trench wall were carried out after crews installed a steel grid structure and covered it with a heat-resistant material. During the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery on May 31, the pad's north flame trench was damaged when bricks tore away from the wall.

During its 11-day mission that includes five spacewalks, the STS-125's crew of seven astronauts will install two new instruments in Hubble, as well as replace the Fine Guidance Sensor. The result will be six working, complementary science instruments with capabilities beyond those now available, and an extended operational lifespan of the telescope through at least 2013.

Atlantis will be commanded by Scott Altman, while Gregory C Johnson will pilot. Other crew members are John Grunsfeld, Mike Massimino, Megan McArthur, Andrew Feustel and Michael Good.
For the benefit of viewers, NASA Television will provide live coverage of Atlantis' move to the launch pad beginning at 6:30 a.m.

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