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  Mission Chronicles :: Flight Day 7-8

Mission Updates
Mission Chronicles
Where Is Hubble Now?

A more informal perspective - members of the Hubble Project give their reactions and thoughts about Hubble and the SM3B mission.

Skip to any page in the chronology of events.
Pre-Launch Flight Day   1-4   5-6   7-8   9-12 Post-Landing

March 8, 2002, 4:33pm CST
One Hubble Girl's View by Ann Jenkins
Mission Control, Houston

Spacewalk #5: The Astronauts’ Message


As astronauts John Grunsfeld and Rick Linnehan finished up their last scheduled spacewalk, they took time out to address the mission team on the ground and all the people of Planet Earth.

“It’s people up here servicing spacecraft like Hubble, and there’s a huge team on the ground at Goddard Space Flight Center, Space Telescope Science Institute, Ball Aerospace, Swales, Orbital, Lockheed Martin, United Space Alliance…and the list goes on and on,” said Grunsfeld.

“HST is definitely an icon of science, but also [of] the peaceful use of space,” Grunsfeld continued. “And for all the people above us on Planet Earth: May there be peace on Earth. And thanks very much for helping us with STS-109.”

Thank you, John. You, Scooter, Digger, Nancy, Rick, Mike and Jim have made us all very happy Hubble Huggers!

March 8, 2002, 4:00pm CST
Dr. Edward Cheng (different Ed)
HST Development Project Scientist
Johnson Space Center

Heavy lifting Well, this is it! Last night's EVA capped off a nearly perfect mission with the installation of the NICMOS Cooling System components. That's not to say that we didn't have any problems all week, but that all the issues that came up were small, and easily within the capability of our well-trained team to handle.

This has been an extraordinarily complicated mission, AND it has also been extraordinarily successful. We could not have asked for more.

Deploy is scheduled for tomorrow morning around 4 am CST. I am not sure I can stay awake for this, but it will be an emotional experience for those who can make it. We look forward to the exciting new science that can now be done.

Meet you here in two years for the next installment in this remarkable Hubble Space Telescope adventure - Servicing Mission 4. Meanwhile, check out Hubble's science discoveries and ejoy the show.

The headache metric today reads:
Excedrin: 7 + 2 = 9
Tylenol: 6 + 3 = 9
Bayer: 1 + 2 = 3
Aleve: 5 + 3 = 8
Advil: 10 + 2 = 12

March 8, 2002
Dr. Edward Cheung (Jackson & Tull)
HST Principal Engineer
Time to go home

Hubble openThe astronauts just finished their last space walk, and the mission has been a huge success. HST now has a new power system, and two additional Science Instruments. All our hardware is working just fine.

It was incredibly thrilling to see the astronauts install the NICMOS Cooling System, which will cool off NICMOS, an instrument that stopped working two years ago. We flew this cooler on STS-95 (known as the John Glenn mission). That is when we tested the operation of the system in space. Today we install it permanently into HST. An important part of the NCS is called the ARUBA, which is essentially a relay box. This box allows us to cut power from NCS should there be a particular failure. It was really thrilling to see the astronauts install that, saying the name ARUBA at least twice (7:30 am ET). I think this is the first time our island's name is mentioned in space. I will digitize this and put it on my web site with the help of Pete (my brother).

If HST is ever brought home, some hardware will need to be jettisoned into space. This will cause it to burn up on reentry. Much of the hardware that we installed this mission will encounter this fate, including the radiator and ARUBA. As a result, the ARUBA box will remain in space forever. This disposal process needs to happen because the landing is very traumatic, and we can not risk hardware shaking loose inside Cargo Bay and damaging the Orbiter. Since the radiator is simply hanging on hand rails, it is not as rigidly attached as it could be. Other hardware such as the Solar Arrays just will simply not fit back into the Cargo Bay.

I will come in early tomorrow morning to witness the release of HST at around 4:30 am. Then I will head to the airport and go home. It has been one month since I left there, and one week since I saw my wife Agnes and the kids so I am looking forward to that. A small crew will stay behind until the landing of the Shuttle, and then the mission will officially end.

This has been my fourth HST mission. It has been an incredible journey these past few weeks. Testing the hardware for the last time, packing it up for shipment to the Cape, testing it in Florida, seeing Mickey, seeing the launch, and the thrill of seeing the astronauts do their space walks. I look forward to coming back in two years from now and doing it all again. I have already started working on several of the flight boxes that will be installed the next mission, including HST's next premier instrument, Wide Field Camera III.

Thank you for your encouragement and e-mails.
I hope to see you soon.

More from Ed at:
NICMOS Cryocooler page:
ARUBA hardware page:

March 8, 2002, 2:27pm CST
One Hubble Girl's View by Ann Jenkins
Mission Control, Houston

Spacewalk #5 and Afterwards

Astronaut in the bay“AWESOME! …AS IN ‘TOTALLY AWESOME, DUDE!’”

Those were the words that Preston Burch, Hubble Space Telescope Program Manager, used in this morning’s press briefing to describe Spacewalk #5. He went on to say much more, but that was the phrase that best summarized his feelings on how the astronauts performed in the wee hours of Friday morning on their fifth and final spacewalk of the mission.

During this spacewalk, John Grunsfeld and Rick Linnehan retrofitted the existing but dormant Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer with a new, experimental cooling system that may return it to active duty. Aliveness and functional tests showed the cooler to be in good working order. After several more weeks of checkout and calibration, we hope the cooler will revive NICMOS, and thus Hubble’s near-infrared capability.

As with each of this mission’s spacewalks, this one held a few unscripted challenges. Like the others, the astronauts and ground team worked together to leap each hurdle swiftly and gracefully. The nearly seven-and-a-half hour spacewalk was physically and mentally challenging for astronaut team. But in the end teamwork and ingenuity prevailed.

When asked to compare today’s refurbished Hubble with the original telescope, Burch didn’t hesitate for a moment. “A far better machine than when it was first launched,” he said. Dr. Ed Cheng, who headed the NICMOS Cryocooler effort, added, “The miracle of servicing makes this possible.”

March 7, 2002, 3:15pm CST
One Hubble Girl's View by Ann Jenkins
Mission Control, Houston

Johnson Space Center

We just got the word: Our new, Advanced Camera for Surveys just passed its functional test with 100 percent success! The relief and jubilation are indescribable! Could you hear us cheering?

March 7, 2002, 3:00pm CST
Dr. Edward Cheng (different Ed)
HST Development Project Scientist
Johnson Space Center

Instrument carrierHST has a fantastic new imaging instrument! The Advanced Camera for Surveys was installed last night, and successfully passed its aliveness and functional tests just moments ago.

Today we are thinking about whether, how, and which MLI covers we would like installed as an optional task for tomorrow's EVA. There is concern that some of the patches applied on previous missions may not last until the next servicing mission.

One more day for the NICMOS Cooling System tomorrow, and we bid it adieu until next time.

The headache metric today reads:
Excedrin: 5 + 2 = 7
Tylenol: 5 + 1 = 6
Bayer: 0 + 1 = 1
Aleve: 3 + 2 = 5
Advil: 7 + 3 = 10

March 7, 2002
One Hubble Girl's View by Ann Jenkins
Mission Control, Houston

Spacewalk #4 and the Next Morning

Working with lightsA BRAND NEW DAY!
Last night was the end of an era. We replaced the last of Hubble’s original instruments—the Faint Object Camera—with the spiffy, new and much more powerful Advanced Camera for Surveys. Now Hubble is very different—and far more capable—than it was the day it launched in 1990. That’s the beauty of Hubble’s modular design: the telescope can evolve right along with advancing technology.

Not that growing up is easy. Last night, I sat alongside Doug Campbell, the Deputy Instrument Manager for ACS. He fidgeted like an expectant father in a maternity ward’s waiting room while the astronauts delivered his instrument to Hubble. And we all held our breath as Massimino slipped inside the telescope to do the necessary mate and demate procedures for changing the instruments.

Already, we have confirmation that the new instrument is alive and well. “ACS phoned home and told us it was okay!” announced Dr. Garth Illingsworth, the instrument’s co-investigator, at this morning’s press briefing. Campbell added, “ACS “We’re very relieved to see ACS in its home and working! The detectors are cold [which is a good thing].”

In other news, the gravity of Spacewalk #3 is finally beginning to sink in for some of us. Although it’s been more than 24 hours since its successful completion, some of us are just now starting to realize how different our lives would be if Hubble had not come back to life. The words “Would you like fries with that?” keep echoing through my head.

Well, it’s late in my day and time for bed. Maybe “tonight” I’ll actually get some sleep.
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