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Nasa Facts STS-109

Nasa Facts STS-109

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Published by Bob Andrepont

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Published by: Bob Andrepont on Apr 15, 2011
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04/15/2011

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KSC FORM 2-203NS (REV. 11/92)
National Aeronautics andSpace Administration
John F. Kennedy Space Center 
Kennedy Space Center, Florida 32899 AC 321 867-2468
January 2002KSC Release No. 02-02
NASA
Facts
STS-109/Columbia
Hubble Space Telescope To Get Visit from Earthly Caretakers
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope (HST) will get ascheduled maintenance visit from its Earthly caretakers.Mission STS-109 is the 27th space flight for ShuttleColumbia and is designated HST Servicing Mission 3B,the fourth Hubble Space Telescope Servicing mission.The seven-member crew of Mission STS-109, along with several Hubble Servicing Mission payloads, will flyaboard Columbia and rendezvous with the HubbleSpace Telescope, which is orbiting at approximately314 nautical miles above Earth. Crew members willcapture the telescope using the Shuttle’s robotic armand secure it on a workstand in Columbia’s payloadbay. During the 11-day mission, four mission specialists will perform five scheduled spacewalks to completesystem upgrades to the telescope.Primary tasks are to replace one of the telescope’sfour Reaction Wheels, on Hubble’s spacecraft equipmentbay, and replace the Solar Array 2 currently on Hubble with the Solar Array 3. The Reaction Wheels areHubble’s primary steering mechanisms. The wheelsstabilize and precisely point the telescope. They aremetal discs that are 2.5 feet in diameter, weigh 160pounds each and provide steering power from zero to3,000 rpm in both forward and reverse directions.The Solar Array 3 consists of four large flexiblesolar array panels that will provide power to theobservatory. The new arrays are one-third smaller insize, more efficient and will help reduce the effects of atmospheric drag on the telescope. Additional upgrades include replacing Hubble’scurrent Faint Object Camera with the Advanced Camerafor Surveys (ACS). ACS will have 10 to 20 times morediscovery power than the camera it replaces, dependingon the wavelength of light being observed. The ACScomprises three different cameras with specializedcapabilities. The high-resolution camera will takeextremely detailed pictures of the inner regions of galaxies and will search neighboring stars for planets.The solar-blind camera blocks visible light to enhanceultraviolet sensitivity. It will study weather on planetsin our own solar system. With a field of view twice thesize of Hubble’s current surveyor, the ACS wide-fieldcamera will conduct new surveys of the Universe andhelp astronomers study the nature and distribution of galaxies in order to further understand our own Universe.The ACS will be carried in Columbia’s payload bay.The camera will be enclosed in a specially designed Axial Science Instrument Protective Enclosure thatprovides protection from shock and heat.The crew also will retrofit Hubble’s existing Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) with a new, experimental cooling systemcalled the NICMOS Cryocooler and replace thetelescope’s Power Control Unit (PCU).NICMOS has remained dormant since January1999, when its supply of coolant was exhausted.Mission specialists will install a new Cryocooler toNICMOS in order to return it to active duty. TheCryocooler uses non-expendable neon gas as a coolantand provides high cooling capacity and low vibration. Itoperates as a miniature cryogenic circulator to removeheat from NICMOS and recool the infrared detectors toabout minus 334 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 203 degrees

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