John Raoux/AP
Technicians work on hardware that will be carried on space shuttle Atlantis to NASA's
Hubble space telescope.

NASA Readies Endeavor as Emergency Rescue Shuttle for Atlantis

September 19, 2008 04:06 PM
by Josh Katz
In a historic move, NASA has placed two ships on their launch pads at the same time. The Atlantis is being sent to repair the Hubble telescope.
The space shuttle Endeavor has been moved to a launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center, where it now sits next to the shuttle Atlantis. It is the first time in seven years that two space shuttles are at their launch pads simultaneously, according to Discover Magazine.

Atlantis is slated to liftoff on Oct. 10, when seven astronauts will begin a mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. The 18-year-old telescope needs its final upgrade: new batteries, gyroscopes and repair kits, Reuters reports.

Endeavor will be on stand-by in the event that something goes wrong in the Atlantis’s precarious mission. During the Atlantis mission, the astronauts will not be close enough to the International Space Station to seek safety if anything goes wrong with the ship, according to the Associated Press. In such a case, four astronauts on Endeavor could come to the rescue.

The Oct. 10 launch date will probably be delayed, however, because the Johnson Space Center in Houston was temporarily closed due to Hurricane Ike, Reuters reports.

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