Aging Hubble Telescope Getting a Makeover

May 8, 2009

(ChattahBox)—The twenty-year old Hubble Telescope, will be getting major repairs, starting Monday when the space shuttle Atlantis blasts off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, to reach the distant space telescope orbiting outside the Earth’s atmosphere. The Hubble is long overdue for repairs, with the last repair mission cancelled following the 2003 Columbia Space Shuttle disaster.

This will serve as the fifth and last mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope, as a new telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope, is planned for a launch in 2011. The Atlantis Space Shuttle will transport a seven-member crew, who will embark on an exhaustive five-day repair project that will require five space walks.

The repairs will require the astronauts to be nimble fingered, as one repair involves the removal of 100 screws, said Lead Flight Director Tony Ceccacci. Additional repairs include, fixes to the data-processing computer and repairing a broken camera.

Other structures will be replaced with new models, such as a new wide-field camera, new gyroscopes and fresh new batteries. The updated camera will provide amazing images in ultra-violet light and visible and near infrared light. The new upgrades should last until at least through 2014.

This repair mission is great news for the millions of people who monitor the Hubble’s astronomical images. Since its installation in space in 1990, the Hubble Telescope has contributed to many great space discoveries. The images and data provided by the Hubble allowed scientists to calculate the age of the universe at 13.7 billion years old and discover the existence of black holes. It also has introduced budding scientists to the wonders of the universe through astronomy.

The Hubble Telescope repair mission will be filmed for an upcoming IMAX film, named Hubble 3D, due to be released sometime next year.

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