Atlantis launches for Hubble mission

May 11, 2009 11:04:17 AM PDT
The space shuttle Atlantis blasted off just after 2 p.m.

The shuttle is on NASA's last visit to Hubble.

The 19-year-old observatory needs new batteries, gyroscopes, cameras and other equipment. NASA hopes to keep the telescope operating for another five to 10 years.

Scientists say once the work is completed, the 19-year-old Hubble will be able to peer deeper into the cosmos and collect an unprecedented amount of data.

Forecasters put the odds of acceptable weather conditions for launch at 90 percent, about as good as it gets. Only a slight chance of rain is expected at the emergency landing site in Spain.

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