FW: NASA Approves Mission and Names Crew for Return to Hubble
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From: NASA News [mailto:hqnews@...]
Sent: Wednesday, 1 November 2006 5:25 a.m.
To: NASA News
Subject: NASA Approves Mission and Names Crew for Return to Hubble
Oct. 31, 2006
Allard Beutel/Dwayne Brown
Dewayne Washington/Susan Hendrix
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
James Hartsfield/Kyle Herring
Johnson Space Center, Houston
NASA APPROVES MISSION AND NAMES CREW FOR RETURN TO HUBBLE
Shuttle astronauts will make one final house call to NASA's Hubble
Space Telescope as part of a mission to extend and improve the
observatory's capabilities through 2013.
NASA Administrator Michael Griffin announced plans for a fifth
servicing mission to Hubble Tuesday during a meeting with agency
employees at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
Goddard is the agency center responsible for managing Hubble.
"We have conducted a detailed analysis of the performance and
procedures necessary to carry out a successful Hubble repair mission
over the course of the last three shuttle missions. What we have
learned has convinced us that we are able to conduct a safe and
effective servicing mission to Hubble," Griffin said. "While there is
an inherent risk in all spaceflight activities, the desire to
preserve a truly international asset like the Hubble Space Telescope
makes doing this mission the right course of action."
The flight is tentatively targeted for launch during the spring to
fall of 2008. Mission planners are working to determine the best
location and vehicle in the manifest to support the needs of Hubble
while minimizing impact to International Space Station assembly. The
planners are investigating the best way to support a launch on need
mission for the Hubble flight. The present option will keep Launch
Pad 39-B at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla., available for such a
rescue flight should it be necessary.
Griffin also announced the astronauts selected for the mission.
Veteran astronaut Scott D. Altman will command the final space
shuttle mission to Hubble. Navy Reserve Capt. Gregory C. Johnson will
serve as pilot. Mission specialists include veteran spacewalkers John
M. Grunsfeld and Michael J. Massimino and first-time space fliers
Andrew J. Feustel, Michael T. Good and K. Megan McArthur.
Altman, a native of Pekin, Ill., will be making his fourth spaceflight
and his second trip to Hubble. He commanded the STS-109 Hubble
servicing mission in 2002. He served as pilot of STS-90 in 1998 and
STS-106 in 2000. Johnson, a Seattle native and former Navy test pilot
and NASA research pilot, was selected as an astronaut in 1998. He
will be making his first spaceflight.
Chicago native Grunsfeld, an astronomer, will be making his third trip
to Hubble and his fifth spaceflight. He performed five spacewalks to
service the telescope on STS-103 in 1999 and STS-109 in 2002. He also
flew on STS-67 in 1995 and STS-81 in 1997. Massimino, from Franklin
Square, N.Y., will be making his second trip to Hubble and his second
spaceflight. He performed two spacewalks to service the telescope
during the STS-109 mission in 2002.
Feustel, Good, and McArthur were each selected as astronauts in 2000.
Feustel, a native of Lake Orion, Mich., was an exploration
geophysicist in the petroleum industry at the time of his selection
by NASA. Good is from Broadview Heights, Ohio, and is an Air Force
colonel and weapons' systems officer. He graduated from the Air Force
Test Pilot School, having logged more than 2,100 hours in 30
different types of aircraft. McArthur, born in Honolulu, considers
California her home state. An oceanographer and former chief
scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, she has a
doctorate from the University of California-San Diego.
The two new instruments are the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) and
Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). The COS is the most sensitive ultraviolet
spectrograph ever flown on Hubble. The instrument will probe the
cosmic web, the large-scale structure of the universe whose form is
determined by the gravity of dark matter and is traced by the spatial
distribution of galaxies and intergalactic gas.
WFC3 is a new camera sensitive across a wide range of wavelengths
(colors), including infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light. It will
have a broad inquiry from the planets in our solar system to the
early and distant galaxies beyond Hubble's current reach, to nearby
galaxies with stories to tell about their star formation histories.
Other planned work includes installing a refurbished Fine Guidance
Sensor that replaces one degrading unit of the three already onboard.
The sensors control the telescope's pointing system. An attempt will
also be made to repair the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph.
Installed in 1997, it stopped working in 2004. The instrument is used
for high resolution studies in visible and ultraviolet light of both
nearby star systems and distant galaxies, providing information about
the motions and chemical makeup of stars, planetary atmospheres, and
"Hubble has been rewriting astronomy text books for more than 15
years, and all of us are looking forward to the new chapters that
will be added with future discoveries and insights about our
universe," said Mary Cleave, NASA's associate administrator for the
Science Mission Directorate.
The Hubble servicing mission is an 11-day flight. Following launch,
the shuttle will rendezvous with the telescope on the third day of
the flight. Using the shuttle's mechanical arm, the telescope will be
placed on a work platform in the cargo bay. Five separate space walks
will be needed to accomplish all of the mission objectives.
"The Hubble mission will be an exciting mission for the shuttle team.
The teams have used the experiences gained from Return to Flight and
station assembly to craft a very workable Hubble servicing flight.
The inspection and repair techniques, along with spacewalk planning
from station assembly, were invaluable in showing this mission is
feasible," said Associate Administrator for Space Operations Bill
Gerstenmaier. "There are plenty of challenges ahead as the teams do
the detailed planning and figure the best way to provide for a launch
on need capability for the mission. There is no question that this
highly motivated and dedicated flight control team will meet the
The Hubble Space Telescope is an international cooperative project
between NASA and the European Space Agency.
For more information about the mission and the Hubble, visit:
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