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Mission Critical Multi-Media Gallery Hubble News Mission Updates Launch Info

 Mission Objectives - Part 2 of 3

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Mission Objectives
Mission Timeline
Space Shuttle Crew

Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS): This new camera was designed to take full advantage of Hubble's unique strengths as a space-based telescope. ACS possesses a wide field of view, superb image quality and sensitivity in visible to far ultraviolet wavelengths. With more than twice the field of view and nearly five times the resolution of the camera it replaces, ACS has 10 times more "discovery efficiency" than Hubble's current workhorse, the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2.
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Astronomers define discovery efficiency as the measure of an observatory's potential to produce scientific results in a fixed amount of time. In other words: the faster a camera can take good pictures, the higher the discovery efficiency.

ACS sees in wavelengths ranging from visible to far ultraviolet. It is actually a team of three different channels with specialized capabilities. The high resolution channel will take extremely detailed pictures of the inner regions of galaxies and search neighboring stars for planets and planets-to-be. The solar blind channel blocks visible light to enhance ultraviolet sensitivity. Among other things, it will be used to study weather on planets in our own solar system.

With a field of view that is more than twice the area of Hubble's current surveyor, ACS's wide field channel will conduct new surveys of the Universe. Astronomers will use it to study the nature and distribution of galaxies in order to understand how our Universe evolved.
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Rigid Solar Arrays (SA3): Hubble got a brand new look with its latest set of solar wings. Although 45% smaller than the first two pairs, they will produce 25% more power. Unlike their flexible predecessors-which could roll up like window shades - the new set is rigid. Less susceptible to damage and the extreme temperature variations of Hubble's orbit, these advanced arrays provide enough extra power to run a new generation of science instruments.
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Hubble after SM3B

Power Control Unit (PCU): As Hubble's power switching station, the PCU controls and distributes electricity from the solar arrays and batteries to other parts of the telescope. Replacing the original PCU, which has been on the job for 11 years, required Hubble to be completely powered down for the first time since its launch in 1990.
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Hubble's new PCU allows astronomers to take full advantage of additional power generated by the new solar arrays. CONTINUE...

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ACS - The Next Level ::
The Advanced Camera for Surveys will effectively make Hubble's imaging capability 10x more powerful.
ACS Demo ::
ACS is shown to scientists and engineers at Ball Aerospace.
Introducing Solar Array 3 ::
One wing of SA3 is lowered into a chamber for testing. The new rigid arrays will produce 25% more power.
SA3 - Tuck and Fold ::
Engineers test the hinges on a wing of SA3. The panels will be folded during its trip in the shuttle.
PCU - Hubble's "Fusebox" ::
A mock-up Power Control Unit is shown above. Click here for an image of the PCU that will be replaced during this mission, requiring Hubble to be powered down.
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