May 11, 2009 at 18:01:56 UT – NASA successfully launched the space shuttle Atlantis on the fifth and final service mission to the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Due to an anomaly aboard the telescope that occurred on September 27, 2008, STS-125 was delayed until now to prepare a second data handling unit replacement for the telescope. Over 11 days and five spacewalks (EVA’s), the shuttle Atlantis’ crew will enhance the observatory and ensure its cutting-edge science by putting in place advanced technology that improves its discovery power by 10 to 70 times. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to follow this launch as closely as the launch of Discovery in March.
Atlantis takes off in HD – Courtery of NASA TV Youtube Channel:
A few minutes after the liftoff, the crew executed a Orbiter Maneuvering System (OMS) burn to raise the shuttle’s orbit to reach Hubble’s 563-8km above the surface. The shuttle it now on its way to rendezvous with the space telescope on Wednesday. During the mission, the STS-125 crew aboard Atlantis will travel farther from the Earth than anyone since STS-109 in March 2002, which flew on Space Shuttle Columbia. The mission is scheduled to end on Friday, May 22, 2009 at 15:41 UT when the shuttle is supposed to land at the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy’s Space Center in Florida.