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NASA Targets May 11 for Shuttle Launch to Hubble. / April 27, 2009 /

NASA is now more confident in its plan to launch the space shuttle Atlantis and a crew of seven to overhaul the Hubble Space Telescope on May 11, the agency said Friday. The announcement came one day after NASA stated its hope to move up the planned May 12 liftoff up by one day.

„Things have to fall into place and right now everything seems to be going real well,“ NASA spokesperson Kyle Herring told from the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Officials at NASA’s Florida spaceport also said Friday that a ding on Atlantis’ payload bay door from a dropped wrench socket did not damage the radiator there and poses no threat to the planned May 11 launch. Some shuttle workers were struck by the falling socket at the launch pad, but no serious injuries were reported.

The new launch target won’t become official until top NASA managers sign off on it in a Thursday (April 30) Flight Readiness Review. If approved, Atlantis would launch Monday, May 11 at 2:01:49 p.m. EDT (1801:49) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida during a nearly 45-minute window that opens at 1:41:49 p.m. EDT (1741:49).

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