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Astronauts Inspect Atlantis While Chasing Hubble

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - Shuttle Atlantis is racing after the Hubble Space Telescope a day after taking off on a daring repair mission.

On Tuesday, the seven astronauts will spend the entire day inspecting virtually every inch of the shuttle for any launch damage. They surveyed the thermal shielding on their crew cabin Monday evening.

This final trip to Hubble is especially dangerous because of all the space junk in the telescope's 350-mile-high orbit. Atlantis seems to have come through its launch fairly well, at least. But the analysis is continuing.

Another shuttle, Endeavour, is at the launch pad and could take off in three to six days if the astronauts had to be rescued.

Atlantis will catch up to Hubble on Wednesday.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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