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.
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.
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"