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Shuttle Fuels For Launch, Weather Near Perfect

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - Fueling has started on space shuttle Atlantis for its mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

Atlantis is poised to blast off just after 2 p.m. EDT Monday for NASA's last visit to Hubble.

The 19-year-old observatory needs new batteries, gyroscopes, cameras and other equipment. NASA hopes to keep the telescope operating for another five to 10 years.

Scientists say once the work is completed, the 19-year-old Hubble will be able to peer deeper into the cosmos and collect an unprecedented amount of data.

Forecasters put the odds of acceptable weather conditions for launch at 90%, about as good as it gets. Only a slight chance of rain is expected at the emergency landing site in Spain.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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