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Lockheed Martin-Built External Tank Is Pacing Item For Hubble Space Telescope Launch


Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) delivered Space Shuttle External Tank-129 to NASA today, and the tank shipped from the Michoud Assembly Facility via enclosed barge at about 5 p.m. this evening, bound for Kennedy Space Center (KSC).

ET-129 will be in place and will serve, if needed, as part of the rescue mission to support the Hubble Space Telescope launch, which is scheduled October 8. ET-129 is currently slated to fly with Orbiter Endeavour on the next International Space Station mission on November 10.

Less than one month ago, Lockheed Martin delivered another tank, ET-127, which will serve as the flight tank for the Hubble mission with Space Shuttle Atlantis.

The Space Shuttle placed the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit in 1990, and astronauts will mark this fifth and final servicing trip to the telescope so it can continue unraveling the mysteries of the universe through 2013 or beyond.

Solid Rocket Booster retrieval ship Liberty Star will tow ET-129 from Gulfport 900 miles across the Gulf of Mexico and around Florida, arriving at KSC on or about Monday, August 11.

To see high- and low-resolution photos of ET-129ís rollout today, click on

Lockheed Martin builds the External Tank at 15 stories tall (154 feet) and almost 28 feet in diameter at the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. Michoud is also working on the next generation of human-rated spacecraft such as Orion, and pursuing future launch vehicles like Ares V, the heavy-lift launch vehicle.


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