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Trouble on Hubble telescope delays space shuttle launch: NASA

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Sept 29, 2008
NASA on Monday delayed the upcoming launch of the Atlantis space shuttle to allow time to repair a "significant anomaly" that occurred at the weekend on the Hubble space telescope.

"The malfunctioning system is Hubble's Control Unit/Science Data Formatter," which transmits to earth the data from which the spectacular images of space taken by Hubble are derived, NASA said in a statement.

"Fixing the problem will delay next month's space shuttle Atlantis' Hubble servicing mission," the statement said, giving no new lift-off date.

Atlantis had been due to blast off on October 14 on a mission to repair and upgrade Hubble, the space telescope which has revolutionized astronomy since its launch in 1990.

The delay is the third to the shuttle mission, which will carry astronauts 563 kilometers (350 miles) above earth to where Hubble is orbiting.

Hubble could be back up and running "in the immediate future" if scientists on the ground are able to reconfigure the data formatter, NASA said, but added that the repairs involved a complex series of maneuvers.

"The agency is investigating the possibility of flying a back-up replacement system, which could be installed during the servicing mission," NASA said, calling a news conference for 6:00 pm (2200 GMT) to discuss the problems on Hubble and the delay.

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Astronauts Prepare For Countdown Rehearsal
Cape Canaveral FL (SPX) Sep 24, 2008
On Wednesday morning, the STS-125 astronauts will suit up in their orange launch-and-entry suits, ride to the launch pad aboard the Astrovan, and climb into space shuttle Atlantis for a countdown dress rehearsal.

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