Astronauts replace Hubble camera, will install new gyroscopes today

May 15, 2009

(ChattahBox) — After a grueling seven-hour, 20-minute spacewalk by STS-125 mission specialists John Grunsfeld and Drew Feustel, the Hubble Space Telescope now sports a shiny new $132 million¬† Wide Field Camera 3. Feustel, anchored to the end of the shuttle Atlantis’ robot arm, was finally able to release a very stubborn bolt without snapping it clearing the way for installation of a powerful new camera. WFPC 2 which took most of the spectacular photos that have made Hubble a national icon since it was installed in the telescope during the first servicing mission in 1993 is now destined for the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum, NASA says.

The pair also replaced the bothersome Science Instrument Command and Data Handling Unit (SIC&DH), that failed last September, triggering a seven-month delay for the Atlantis servicing mission. Grunsfeld on his sixth space walk for NASA, also installed a grapple fixture on the base of the space telescope that will help a future crew, or a robotic spacecraft, lock onto the observatory to drive it safely out of orbit when its useful life ends.¬† They also fitted “a combination of locks and latches that will allow for faster opening and closing of the telescope doors during the third spacewalk”. Two of four latches could not be fully engaged, but the astronauts worked around that by installing alternate devices.

A second servicing spacewalk, featuring Mike Good and Mike Massimino, scheduled for 12:16 GMT today is meant to install six new gyroscopes, which are crucial because they help the telescope point in the right direction. They’ll also start work replacing Hubble’s batteries. Although there are three more spacewalks left after this one, NASA managers listed replacing the gyros as their top priority because three of them are broken. The access to the gyros is kind of tricky.


2 Responses to “Astronauts replace Hubble camera, will install new gyroscopes today”

  1. kenny on May 15th, 2009 9:12 am

    i think that they should just leave it how it is. you are going to send another one up in a few years any way. you are just wasteing your money.

  2. News Blog John York | World News on May 15th, 2009 2:52 pm

    […] by STS-125 mission specialists John Grunsfeld and Drew Feustel, the Hubble Space Telescope now. […] Critics hit Myanmar on "trumped-up" Suu Kyi charges | WORLD Western critics slammed […]

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