Feeds

Atlantis creeps up on Hubble

Engineers examine images of 'minor' shuttle damage

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Space shuttle Atlantis is poised to rendevous with the Hubble Space Telescope on its final servicing mission to the venerable eye in the sky.

Shortly before 15:00 GMT, NASA reported: "Orbiting nearly 50,000 feet (9 1/2 statute miles) behind the telescope, Atlantis' crew performed a precisely-targeted thruster firing called the Terminal Initiation, or TI burn, setting the stage for the final phase of the rendezvous with the Hubble Space Telescope.

"Atlantis will close the final miles to the telescope during the next orbit of Earth. During that time the shuttle’s rendezvous radar system will begin tracking Hubble by measuring the distance and rate of closure. Capture of Hubble will occur in a little over two hours."

NASA specifies that the "actual grapple of the telescope using the shuttle’s robotic arm is scheduled for 12:54 p.m. EDT" (16:54 GMT).

Back on Earth, engineers "continue to examine the images captured during Tuesday’s inspection of Atlantis’ thermal protection system and exterior surfaces". This revealed "one area of damage on the forward part of the spacecraft where the wing blends into the fuselage".

According to NASA this is "very minor and of no concern for the mission, and the flight team notified the crew late Tuesday that no focused inspection of that particular area is necessary".

Atlantis's mission STS-125 will see five space walks, during which the crew will "refurbish, restore and renew the Hubble Space Telescope".

There's a mission summary here (pdf) and overview here. ®

Bootnote

NASA has released a nice snap of Atlantis's lift-off showing Endeavour on the adjacent launch pad 39B, ready to go should it be required in an emergency:

Atlantis launch with Endeavour on launch pad 39B

There's a bigger version here.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.