Shuttle Atlantis takes off

Earlier today, NASA launched Shuttle Atlantis on it’s 11 day sprint mission to repair and upgrade the Hubble telescope.

After launch, Atlantis will rendezvous with Hubble, grab the telescope with its robotic arm and pull it on to a work platform to give astronauts easy access to its interior.

Crew members will install new instruments and thermal blankets, repair two existing instruments, replace gyroscopes, batteries and a unit that stores and transmits science data to Earth.

The overhaul will be carried out over five spacewalks. Astronauts will remove the existing Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 instrument to make way for the new Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3).Spacewalkers will also take out the Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement (COSTAR) device, installed during Hubble’s first servicing mission to correct for the blurring problem with the telescope’s main mirror.

Repairs will be made to the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS), which suffered a power failure in 2004, and to the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), which was hit by an electrical short in 2007.

Astronauts will also replace a worn-out fine guidance sensor, helping to maintain a robust ability to point the telescope.After the work to Hubble is complete, Atlantis will boost the telescope to a higher altitude, ensuring that it survives the tug of Earth’s gravity for the remainder of its operating lifetime.

One day, I hope to make it to Florida to witness one of these launches…one day !!

Let’s hope someone remembers to pack the wrench 🙂


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Ben Shephard said,

    Get it done mate. I’d love to see a launch one day.

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