... So that You may be kept informed

US: Suttle Atlantis lifts off

By Marcia Dunn
12 May 2009 4:09 AM

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida, May 11 AP - Space shuttle Atlantis is on its way to the Hubble Space Telescope.

Atlantis and seven astronauts blasted off Monday on a mission that has more risks than usual. It is NASA's final trip to Hubble and comes after a seven-month delay.

Atlantis and its crew were supposed to fly to Hubble last fall, but the telescope broke down.

The telescope is in need of new equipment and repairs, and the shuttle should arrive at the orbiting observatory Wednesday.

The $1 billion repair job will feature five spacewalks. The astronauts will install new cameras, batteries and gyroscopes, and attempt to fix two broken science instruments.

Another shuttle is on a launch pad and ready to lift off on a rescue mission if Atlantis is seriously damaged during the 11-day flight.