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National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Goddard Space Flight Center

Astrophysics Science Division | Sciences and Exploration

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Underwater Simulation

In the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL), the astronauts train to install the NCS. The astronaut on the right is carrying a mock Cryo-Cooler.

Just a Little Further

The astronauts position a mock NCS radiator into place on a Hubble replica (left).
During and after the aforementioned improvements, NCS was continually tested. The Capillary Pump Loop (CPL) had some problems but these were fixed.

Meanwhile the astronauts trained to install the NCS. At Houston in the NBL (Neutral Buoyancy Lab), zero-gravity was simulated by having the astronauts run through their operations underwater. Mock-ups of Hubble, and the equipment they would install were provided. NCS would be the most complicated installation ever made on Hubble.

The astronauts also gained experience with the actual instruments by coming to Goddard and working with them in the cleanroom - a low-contamination environment where space hardware is tested and integrated.

Eventually the NCS was ready, and it was shipped to Kennedy for Servicing Mission 3B in January of 2002.