The space shuttle Atlantis lifts off Monday May 11, 2009, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Seven astronauts are beginning a 12-day mission that includes the fifth and final servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope.
STS-125 commander Scott D. Altman, right, waves to NASA employees and family as he and his crew leave the Operations building at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla., May 11, 2009. Atlantis'crew of seven is carrying hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of new telescope equipment. Astronauts will perform five spacewalks to install all the gear and attempt to fix two broken science instruments.
This image released by NASA is considered the last "pretty" image made by the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. The image made May 4, 2009, is of the planetary nebula known as Kohoutek 4-55. The camera will be replaced during the latest space shuttle mission.
This 2003 image from the Hubble telescope shows a storm of turbulent gases in the Omega/Swan nebula. On this fifth and final repair mission, Atlantis' crew will replace Hubble's batteries and gyroscopes, install two new cameras and attempt to fix two broken science instruments, something never before attempted. NASA hopes to keep Hubble churning out breathtaking views of the universe for another five to 10 years.
The Hubble Space Telescope is shown Feb. 19, 1997, following its release from the space shuttle Discovery after astronauts made five spacewalks to install two $100-million-plus science instruments and new electronics and data recorders. The fifth and final repair mission, is a $1 billion, extraordinarily ambitious repair mission that NASA hopes will lift the celebrated observatory to new scientific heights.
This false-color composite image provided shows the Cartwheel galaxy as seen by the Galaxy Evolution Explorer's Far Ultraviolet detector (blue); the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field and Planetary Camera-2 in B-band visible light (green); the Spitzer Space Telescope's Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) at 8 microns (red); and the Chandra X-ray Observatory's Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer-S array instrument (purple).
Image by Hubble Space Telescope taken Feb. 24, 2009, of four moons of Saturn passing in front of their parent planet. The 19-year-old Hubble, last visited by astronauts seven years ago, is way overdue for a tuneup.