Atlantis to Launch 2:00 PM

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  • #1
LowlyPion
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Astronauts Ready For Repair Trip to Battered Hubble

... This will be the fifth and final servicing mission to the telescope and, unquestionably, the trickiest. The servicing had originally been scheduled for 2004, but NASA canceled the mission after the Columbia disaster heightened concerns about shuttle astronauts' safety. With the Hubble doomed to expire in orbit as its gyros failed, schoolchildren across the country donated their lunch money to prod NASA to reconsider. In 2006, NASA decided to reinstate the mission.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/10/AR2009051001513.html
 

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  • #3
LowlyPion
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Here's the link to NASA TV that I provided previously.

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html

Atlantis is scheduled to lift off Monday, 05/11/2009 at 2:01 PM.

Great. I was going to look for that, though I think the thirst for content on cable news is such at that time of day it will most definitely be available through the standard sources.

I see there is a backup flight being prepared, due to the destination remoteness from the space station, in case of complications arising after launch that might require rescue.
 
  • #5
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And away they go! The astronauts on board gave a talk here at NASA Goddard a couple months ago. They are going to fix hubble.
 
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  • #6
drankin


I thought we already fixed hubble? What's wrong with it?
 
  • #7
Astronuc
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http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/hst_sm4/overview.html
. . .
The STS-125 mission will return the space shuttle to the Hubble Space Telescope for one last visit before the shuttle fleet retires in 2010. Over 11 days and five spacewalks, the shuttle Atlantis’ crew will make repairs and upgrades to the telescope, leaving it better than ever and ready for another five years – or more – of research.

The shuttle Discovery launched Hubble in 1990, and released it into an orbit 304 nautical miles above the Earth. Since then it’s circled Earth more than 97,000 times and provided more than 4,000 astronomers access to the stars not possible from inside Earth’s atmosphere. Hubble has helped answer some of science’s key questions and provided images that have awed and inspired the world.
. . . .
And the new Wide Field Camera 3 will allow Hubble to take large-scale, extremely clear and detailed pictures over a very wide range of colors. At ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths the WFC3 represents a dramatic improvement in capability over all previous Hubble cameras. It is also a very capable visible light camera, though by design not quite as capable at visible wavelengths as Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys. The WFC3 and ACS are designed to work together in a complementary fashion.
. . . .

See also - http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/main/index.html - pdf files at bottom of Space Shuttle Mission: STS-125 notice
 
  • #8
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I thought we already fixed hubble? What's wrong with it?

A lot of the parts are old and need replacing. Gyros, accels, etc. The astronauts said pretty much every second of their space walk is planned. They don't even have time to stop what they are doing and look at the earth below them. It's work, work, work. That guy's got a lottt of screws hes going to have to take off and put back on. I forget the number of them he said it was, but wearing a space suit with bulky gloves why trying to put in screws is not an easy task.
 
  • #9
turbo
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I haven't gotten an email from my cousin yet today. He's the project manager for the lead contractor on the upgrade. I don't imagine he's had much free time the last couple of days. Good luck, crew!
 
  • #10
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Great. I was going to look for that, though I think the thirst for content on cable news is such at that time of day it will most definitely be available through the standard sources.

I see there is a backup flight being prepared, due to the destination remoteness from the space station, in case of complications arising after launch that might require rescue.

Fox News covered it for 2 days.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,519719,00.html
http://origin.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,519638,00.html

The risk of damage from space junk appears to be a real concern.
 
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  • #11
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I already have a thread about this.... FAIL. (on my part!)
 
  • #12
mgb_phys
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And ESA's Planck and Herschel missions launch on thursday.
 
  • #13
LowlyPion
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Fox News covered it for 2 days.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,519719,00.html
http://origin.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,519638,00.html

The risk of damage from space junk appears to be a real concern.

The last launch, I found NASA TV to be a more interesting feed, because it was just the launch and the controller chatter without all the other uninteresting regurgitations. They also provided the on board feed for quite some time after launch.

I noted that Discovery Channel mounted a modest effort that wasn't half bad today. Unfortunately I never got linked to the NASA feed.
 
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  • #14
Ivan Seeking
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The shuttle did sustain some damage from falling foam. Right now they don't think it is serious but are checking.
 
  • #15
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Damage to heat shield: NASA says it is minor.
AFP said:
HOUSTON, Texas (AFP) — NASA was assessing damage found on the underside of the shuttle Atlantis, but downplayed any threat to the astronauts or their mission as the craft raced toward a risky high-orbit rendezvous with the Hubble telescope.

During a marathon 10-hour survey of fragile heat shielding, the seven member Atlantis crew found a string of gouges stretching 53 centimeters (21 inches) across four heatshield tiles on the underside of the forward portion of the shuttle's right wing sustained during the craft's launch into orbit.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hXE20ad4x496Dm6pr31gSpJTmuiA [Broken]
 
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  • #16
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Damage to heat shield: NASA says it is minor.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hXE20ad4x496Dm6pr31gSpJTmuiA [Broken]

I don't really get why they have this problem still.
 
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  • #17
turbo
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I don't really get why they have this problem still.
Last night's NOVA was on the Columbia disaster. Foam from the external fuel tank damaged the leading edge of a wing during launch and the shuttle burned up during re-entry. The interaction (or lack of it) between NASA engineers and management is interesting - a must-see show for those interested in manned space-flight.
 
  • #18
mgb_phys
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I don't really get why they have this problem still.

Unless you stop using cryogenic fuel or invent a better heat shield there isn't much you can do - it's a fundemental design flaw of the vehicle.
All they can do is check it after each launch and have a spare rescue shuttle ready. Since the shuttle is due to be scrapped soon there's no need for anythignmore.
 
  • #19
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  • #20
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Astronauts grab Hubble Space Telescope
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090513/ap_on_sc/us_shuttle_hubble [Broken]
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Atlantis' astronauts reached out and grabbed the Hubble Space Telescope on Wednesday, setting the stage for five days of treacherous spacewalking repairs in a lofty orbit littered with space junk.

It was the first time anyone had seen the orbiting observatory up close in seven years.

"It's an unbelievably beautiful sight," reported astronaut John Grunsfeld, the telescope's chief repairman. "Amazingly, the exterior of Hubble, an old man of 19 years in space, still looks in fantastic shape."

Shuttle robot arm operator Megan McArthur used the 50-foot boom to seize the school bus-sized telescope as the two spacecraft sailed 350 miles above Australia. Then she gently lowered the observatory into Atlantis' payload bay.

Apparently the nicks on the tiles are of no concern.
 
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  • #21
LowlyPion
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Apparently the nicks on the tiles are of no concern.

To those on the ground.

You can't convince me that the astronauts won't be thinking about them on re-entry though.
 
  • #22
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Unless you stop using cryogenic fuel or invent a better heat shield there isn't much you can do - it's a fundemental design flaw of the vehicle.
All they can do is check it after each launch and have a spare rescue shuttle ready. Since the shuttle is due to be scrapped soon there's no need for anythignmore.

I'm not a 100% sure, but I think it is only for Hubble missions where they have another shuttle ready on the pad. For ISS missions they have more time to wait for a rescue since they can sit it out in the station. The time factor is not as much as an issue.
 
  • #23
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I'm not a 100% sure, but I think it is only for Hubble missions where they have another shuttle ready on the pad. For ISS missions they have more time to wait for a rescue since they can sit it out in the station. The time factor is not as much as an issue.

That sounds like what I've heard. That the more remote location of the Hubble makes the ISS not a good option to get to for fail safe events and where the astronauts could be sustained until recovery may be able to be arranged on flights already scheduled. Apparently this has been the plan for lower orbit missions.
 
  • #24
mheslep
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Unless you stop using cryogenic fuel or invent a better heat shield there isn't much you can do - it's a fundemental design flaw of the vehicle.
All they can do is check it after each launch and have a spare rescue shuttle ready. Since the shuttle is due to be scrapped soon there's no need for anythignmore.
Yes the wings have got to go on lift off and the high mach part of re-entry. They're not necessary until the last few minutes of the mission, otherwise they're a failure waiting to happen.
 
  • #25
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How big of a chunk of tiles did the foam take off that causes columbia to crash?
 
  • #26
mheslep
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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Atlantis' astronauts reached out and grabbed the Hubble Space Telescope on Wednesday, setting the stage for five days of treacherous spacewalking repairs in a lofty orbit littered with space junk...
Treacherous? Complicated maybe. Has there ever been a single accident on a space walk, even by the Soviets?
 
  • #27
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Treacherous? Complicated maybe. Has there ever been a single accident on a space walk, even by the Soviets?

The first one nearly killed the soviet who did it (I forget his name). Treacherious for the hubble, for sure.
 
  • #28
mgb_phys
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Yes the wings have got to go on lift off and the high mach part of re-entry. They're not necessary until the last few minutes of the mission, otherwise they're a failure waiting to happen.
The original design (IIRC) was for a titanium shield but nobody could make a single piece large enough, then there was going to be a replaceable (either consumed or jettisoned) graphite heat shield - the individual tiles were a stop gap to get the first launch.
By then it was obvious that the shuttle would never be built or flown in large numbers it wasn't worth improving it.

Then of course there was NASA managers view - if it failed but didn't cause a crash then a failure obviously isn't serious.
 
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  • #29
mheslep
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How big of a chunk of tiles did the foam take off that causes columbia to crash?
Edit:

The image analysis team established impact velocities from
625 to 840 feet per second (about 400 to 600 mph) relative to
the Orbiter, and foam dimensions from 21 to 27 inches long
by 12 to 18 inches wide.
 

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