Hubble Servicing Mission moves up

The latest available Shuttle mission manifest continues to evolve ahead of an exciting finale for the three NASA orbiters, with the highlight mission of servicing the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) moving up to flight 10 of a 17 mission schedule.

HST-SM04 – STS-125 – has now moved from Endeavour to Discovery, with a new NET (No Earlier Than) launch date of April 11, 2008, moving ahead of STS-119 – ISS Assembly flight 15A – from the previous manifest.

STS-121 Mission T-Shirt. Use discount code ‘nasaspaceflight’ when ordering from Countdown Creations & receive 5% off!

Taking over as NASA’s flagship from the fallen Columbia, Discovery is tasked with the final servicing mission to the space telescope, extending its lifetime into the next decade.

STS-125 is classed as the most dangerous of the remaining 17 flights of the Shuttle, given the lack of an STS-300 style rescue mission.

This is because the orbit of the telescope rules out the ‘safe haven’ of the ISS (International Space Station) – added to the expected unavailability of a second launch pad for use by a rescue Shuttle, as pad modifications will be underway for the Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV) – which will eventually be the launch vehicle for the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV).

However, NASA will have managed to get nine flights under its belt by the time STS-125 is due to launch, with the ‘STS-300′ style rescue mission only on standby for the next two missions.

The last Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission took place on STS-109, with one of the most spectacular launches ever witnessed at the Kennedy Space Center, as Columbia’s dawn launch pierced through low clouds, lighting up the State of Florida in the process.

**Click the image to view the camcorder video recording of STS-109’s launch (free to view for forum members)**

Potential names of crewmembers that are expected to be on the mission are already being rumoured around various circles, although such speculation won’t be published here until they have officially been selected, so as not to harm the chances of any potential astronaut winning a ride on board Discovery.

Other changes in the current manifest include the extra days given to the LON (Launch On Need) date for Atlantis’ STS-300 rescue mission – supporting STS-121. August 17 is the new date, moving from August 4.

Atlantis’ STS-117 has moved up a month to February 22, 2007, from March 22. Atlantis will be carrying the S3/S4 truss to the International Space Station.

Also moving the right way is Endeavour’s debut on the final years of the Space Shuttle program, as her STS-118 mission has moved up a few days to a NET June 11, instead of June 14. That date could move up the schedule further, to NET May 1, should processing continue to produce positive results.

A couple of orbiter changes are also noted, with STS-120 moving to Atlantis from Discovery, while and STS-122 will be with Discovery, instead of Atlantis.

The final launch has a NET date of January 21, 2010 for STS-132, where Endeavour will take Node 3 and Cupola to the ISS on the last flight of the 17 flight manifest.

NASA does, however, have two contingency flights, if required, which will move the last launch, again with Endeavour, to July 15, 2010, as STS-133.

Current STS manifest:

 1 – July 1, 2006 – STS-121 – ULF1.1 – Discovery – MPLM Leonardo
[August 17, 2006 – STS-300 – CSCS for STS-121 – Atlantis]

2 – August 28, 2006 – STS-115 – 12A – Atlantis – P3/P4
[November 11, 2006 – STS-301 – CSCS for STS-115 – Discovery]

3 – December 14, 2006 – STS-116 – 12A.1 – Discovery – P5 & Spacehab-SM

4 – February 22, 2007 – STS-117 – 13A – Atlantis – S3/S4

5 – June 11, 2007 – STS-118 – 13A.1 – Endeavour – S5 & Spacehab-SM & ESP3 (possibly on May 1, 2007)

6 – August 9, 2007 – STS-120 – 10A – Atlantis – Node 2

7 – September 27, 2007 – STS-122 – 1E – Discovery – Columbus

8 – November 29, 2007 – STS-123 – 1J/A – Endeavour – JEM ELM PS & SPDM

9 – February 7, 2008 – STS-124 – 1J – Atlantis – JEM PM & JEM RMS

10 – April 11, 2008 – STS-125 – HST SM-04 – Discovery

11 – June 19, 2008 – STS-119 – 15A – Endeavour – S6

12 – August 21, 2008 – STS-126 – ULF2 – Atlantis – MPLM Leonardo (last flight of OV-104)

13 – October 30, 2008 – STS-127 – 2J/A – Discovery – JEM EF & JEM ELM ES Kibo

14 – January 22, 2009 – STS-128 – 17A – Endeavour – MPLM Donatello & 6 person ISS crew

15 – April 30, 2009 – STS-129 – ULF3 – Discovery – EXPRESS 1 & 2 (last flight of OV-103)

16 – July 16, 2009 – STS-130 – 19A – Endeavour – MPLM Donatello

17 – October 22, 2009 – STS-131 – ULF4 (CLF) – Discovery – EXPRESS 3 & 4

18 – January 21, 2010 – STS-132 – 20A – Endeavour – Node 3 & Cupola (last flight of OV-105)

19 – July 15, 2010 – STS-133 – ULF5 (CLF) – Endeavour – EXPRESS 1 & 5


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