CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) – The Harlem Globetrotters will soon have a presence way above the globe.

Space shuttle Atlantis will carry a pair of basketballs when it rockets away on a repair mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.

One of the balls belongs to the Globetrotters. It was deflated to save room inside the shuttle, which is jammed with gear and new telescope parts.

The other is a century-old ball on loan from the University of Chicago that was once handled by the man the Hubble Telescope is named after.

Edwin Hubble was a star forward on the University of Chicago’s Big Ten champion teams of 1907-1908 and 1908-1909.

Because the old ball did not have an air valve, Grunsfeld cut it open and discovered it was filled with fiber packing material. The stuffing was removed so the ball would take up as little room as possible aboard space shuttle Atlantis.

After Atlantis returns to Earth, the Globetrotters will put their red, white and blue space ball on display at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. The Hubble ball will go back to the University of Chicago.


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