Hubble mission marks end of an era for space shuttle

05/12/2009 | Washington Post, The

Monday's launch of space shuttle Atlantis on a rescue mission to the Hubble Space Telescope marks the end of an era for both spacecraft. The Hubble was designed with the shuttle in mind, and it is the only space telescope to receive tune ups from astronauts -- a feat the next-generation Ares I rocket will not be able to replicate. "The space shuttle is really uniquely set for this servicing task," said NASA Associate Administrator Bill Gerstenmeier during a post-launch briefing.

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