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Astrophysics Science Division | Sciences and Exploration

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 Introduction

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High above the distorting effects of Earth's atmosphere, Hubble has an unrestricted view of the heavens. Just as important as its location is its astronaut-friendly design. Hubble was built to be "souped up" and serviced in orbit.

As new technology becomes available, space-walking astronauts fit the telescope with the latest, high performance equipment. They also replace components that would otherwise wear out and limit Hubble's life. Each time astronauts visit the Hubble Space Telescope, they leave it newer and better than they found it.
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Servicing Mission 3B, or SM3B was the fourth in this series of successful missions. After SM3B, Hubble's discovery power was increased by 10 times. It received a new scientific instrument, replacement parts, and even a new look - Hubble will be taken to the next level!

Servicing Mission 3B is actually the fourth visit to Hubble. NASA split the original Servicing Mission 3 into two parts and conducted 3A in December of 1999. The crew of Space Shuttle Columbia conducted Servicing Mission 3B in February 2002 and performed five spacewalks over an 11-day mission.

These astronauts are the most visible members of Hubble's cast of thousands. This diverse team is united in a common goal-to keep Hubble healthy and able to continue producing breakthrough science throughout its 20-year life.

Like an orchestra performing a symphony, the Hubble Team melds its varied talents, strengths and expertise to function as a single entity. From accountants to astronauts, and secretaries to scientists, every member of the Hubble team plays a vital role.
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Mission success requires the close coordination of many, many individuals, as well as collaboration with several institutions, including Kennedy Space Center, Johnson Space Center, NASA Headquarters, the European Space Agency and Industry. Industrial and educational partners from across the nation and around the globe are essential to Hubble's science and engineering advances. The team's common vision is why Hubble remains one of the "crown jewels" of NASA.

Technical Expertise ::
Scientists and engineers demonstrate equipment - scientific and otherwise - during crew training.
Hubble's Control Room ::
Operators man the controls for the Hubble telescope at NASA Goddard.
 
View  from Above ::
Hubble orbits 600 km (360 miles) above the earth pointing out into space to capture its images.
 
Celestial Doorway ::
Hubble obtained this image of the Keyhole Nebula in early 2000.
 
All Aboard! ::
The Hubble telescope is harnessed into the space shuttle's bay ready for the astronauts to service it (from SM3A).
 
Strike a Pose ::
An astronaut in the midst of a spacewalk - otherwise known as an EVA (Extra Vehicular Activity).
 
Blast Off! ::
One of Kennedy Space Center's spectacular night shuttle launches.
 
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| Page Last Updated: March 28, 2012 |
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