Presidential candidate nominee backs Shuttle retirement delay

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Orbiter Atlantis is prepared for its STS-125 Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission, scheduled for launch on 8 October, and is in position to be attached to the stack of its external fuel tank and twin solid rocket boosters inside the Kennedy Space Center's vehicle assembly building.

The US Republican party's presidential candidate nominee, Arizona senator John McCain, has co-signed an open letter to President George Bush calling for a delay in NASA activities that contribute to the Space Shuttle fleet's 2010 retirement. In the letter McCain and two other US senators cite problems in relations with Russia's government following the Georgia conflict as a reason to not rely on Russian transport to the International Space Station.

atlantis space shuttle
 © NASA