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U.S. shuttle Atlantis to deliver chip from Newton's apple tree to ISS

RIA Novosti

16:20 11/05/2010 MOSCOW, May 11 (RIA Novosti) - The U.S. space shuttle Atlantis will deliver to the International Space Station a chip from an apple tree under which Isaac Newton is believed to have been sitting when an apple fell on his head, unveiling to him the law of gravity, a NASA expert said.

The 10-centimeter (almost 4-inch) relic provided by Britain's Royal Society will be sent to the ISS with the Atlantis mission scheduled to begin on May 14, the expert said.

The act is dedicated to the society's 350th anniversary.

Shuttle Atlantis, which will deliver Russia's Rassvet research module to the ISS, is planned to blast off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 10:20 p.m. Moscow time (18:20 GMT).

The shuttle's crew plans to carry out three space walks during the 12-day mission, which is expected to be the last space trip by Atlantis.

NASA is planning to scrap its Space Shuttle program by the end of the year. The U.S. space agency says the shuttles are outdated and too expensive to maintain.

The last launch of the U.S. space shuttle Endeavor is planned for mid-November.

Russian Soyuz spacecrafts will take U.S. astronauts to the space station after NASA stops launching its shuttles.



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