Astronaut with Bay Area ties to service Hubble

California astronaut Megan McArthur will embark on her first space journey next month as part of NASA's final servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.

McArthur, who was born in Hawaii, graduated from St. Francis High School in Mountain View in 1989, received a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering from University of California, Los Angeles, and in 2002 received her doctorate degree in oceanography from the University of California, San Diego.

Her parents, Don and Kit McArthur, live in San Jose.

McArthur will be one of seven astronauts who will fly on the Atlantis space shuttle's fifth and final servicing mission. The 11-day flight is scheduled to launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center at 10:34 p.m (PDT) on Oct. 7.

McArthur began her two-year training as a mission specialist with NASA in 2000, which led to an assignment working on technical issues on shuttle systems at the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory in the Astronaut Office shuttle operations branch.

Five space walks are planned for the October mission, during which repairs and upgrades to the Hubble Space Telescope should help extend its life and capabilities to at least 2013, NASA officials said.

Atlantis today began its journey from the Kennedy Space Center's vehicle assembly building to Launch Pad 39A, where it will undergo equipment tests in preparation for the launch.

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