Rendezvous with Destiny

A fateful mission begins well as the shuttle reels in the Hubble Telescope

When the shuttle Endeavour blasted into space last Thursday morning, its near flawless lift-off lighting up Florida's predawn skies and dazzling onlookers in and around the Kennedy Space Center, NASA officials felt a mix of relief and tense anticipation. Though the launch was delayed a day by bad weather, the countdown was free of the technical glitches that had grounded shuttles so many times before. But the really hard part was yet to come: a week of dangerous and delicate maneuvers performed more than 300 miles up in space. The challenge facing Endeavour's seven-member crew was not just to fix the...

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