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"This will be an emotional thing," Leinbach said.
Such a rescue would put four more astronauts at risk and would mean the end of Atlantis, and undoubtedly the space shuttle program, which is set to be phased out in 2010. Atlantis would be sent into the Pacific once its astronauts were aboard Endeavour.
It would rank right up there with the drama of Apollo 13, said Ed Mango, Atlantis' launch director. For Leinbach, who would head up the rescue launch, it would be the most important thing NASA has ever done, period.
Altman realizes that if pressed into service, Endeavour might not get off in time. Storms or a last-second engine shutdown could keep it grounded.
"There's no guarantee it would get there," Altman said in an interview with The Associated Press. "On the other hand, you look at how many things would have to go wrong to make it not possible to pull off. ...
"There's a scenario out there that doesn't have a happy ending, and I think we all have to come to grips with that before launch."
They would be stranded on their spacecraft at the Hubble, where NASA estimates they could stay alive for 25 days. Air would be the first to go.
On Friday, Endeavour was parked at its launch pad just a mile from where Atlantis is tentatively set to lift off on Oct. 10.
Originally posted by Mercenary2007
However they would probably invert the shuttle so the heat sheild was facing away from earth and our atmosphere. therefore causing the shuttle to burn up.
Originally posted by peacejet
Do you think that the onboard computer which is preprogrammed for all the functions will accept the override because the technology is so outdated.