Hubble All Spruced Up And Ready For New Discoveries

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Peter Kline, Mar 9, 2002.

  1. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    March 9, 2002

    Rejuvenated Hubble Sent Into Orbit

    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Filed at 12:53 p.m. ET

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- Space shuttle Columbia's astronauts set the Hubble Space Telescope free Saturday to behold the universe with sharper eyes and renewed energy, ending NASA's most challenging service call.

    ``Good luck, Mr. Hubble,'' John Grunsfeld, the chief repairman, said as the telescope drifted off.

    Columbia's crane operator, Nancy Currie, released the observatory from the end of the robot arm more than 360 miles above the Atlantic. The shuttle slowly backed away, providing the world with its last close-up look at Hubble until astronauts return for another overhaul in two years.

    An hour later, flight controllers in Houston caught a glimpse of the twinkling spacecraft.

    ``It was a very stirring sight to go out in the parking lot and to see Columbia fly overhead with Hubble in trail,'' said Hubble program manager Preston Burch.

    Although everyone was thrilled to have the mission accomplished and Hubble headed back to work, ``we also had that empty feeling that one gets when saying goodbye to a friend or a relative after a visit of several days,'' Preston said.

    In a record-tying five spacewalks, Columbia's astronauts outfitted Hubble with smaller but more powerful solar wings, a more robust central power controller, a pointing mechanism, an advanced camera for peering deeper than ever into the universe, and a super-cold refrigerator for resuscitating a disabled infrared camera.

    More nerve-racking than any single repair -- on any of the four servicing missions -- was the complete shutdown of the $2 billion-plus telescope. It was the first blackout in Hubble's 12 years in orbit, required for the power controller replacement. Everything came back on when power was restored.

    Columbia's seven astronauts, who are due back on Earth on Tuesday, fielded congratulations from their colleagues on Earth -- and also from their fellow space travelers.

    ``We've been following you along and sounds like you guys are batting 1,000 percent,'' international space station resident Daniel Bursch radioed.

    Just one week earlier, Columbia's astronauts had been wondering whether they would even see Hubble. A clogged pipe in a critical shuttle cooling system threatened to cut short the mission; NASA concluded the problem was not serious enough to force an early return.

    ``There was a lot of concern a week ago,'' said commander Scott Altman, ``and it's great to now be able to look back and see how much that's turned around and what a success the mission has become.''

    So far, testing of Hubble's $172 million worth of new equipment has gone well. But it will be at least another month before NASA knows whether the repairs to the infrared camera worked. And it will be two months before Hubble's enhanced pictures make their debut.

    ``I tell you, I just can't wait for the next couple weeks when we start getting images out of that beauty because I think it's going to roll everybody's socks down,'' said Columbia's pilot, Duane Carey.

    Copyright 2002 The Associated Press | Privacy Information
     
  2. CRyan

    CRyan Screenwriter

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    Great news. When I first heard they were going to have to completely power down the unit, I was a little afraid of what might happen when power was restored. Looks like it went well.

    C. Ryan
     
  3. Ash Williams

    Ash Williams Second Unit

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    This is great. I can't wait to see the new images. [​IMG]
     
  4. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Thank you, Peter, for your frequent updates.
     
  5. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    Brian,

    You're welcome.
     
  6. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Great news. [​IMG]
    Hey, you think they could get me some pics of Emmy Beart sunbathing on the Riviera? [​IMG]
     
  7. Josh_Hill

    Josh_Hill Screenwriter

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    It always comes back to Emmy Beart! Dont blame ya though. Hey can you turn a thread about dogs into a thread about Beart?? [​IMG]
    Oh yeah, great news about Hubble BTW.
     

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