Sarah Keegan Headquarters, Washington, September 24, 1993 (Phone; 202/358-1902) Jim Elliott Goddard Space Flight

Center, Greenbelt, Md. (Phone: 301/286-6256) George Diller Kennedy Space Center, Fla. (Phone: 407/867-2468) RELEASE: 93-169


HUBBLE INSTRUMENT MAY RECEIVE FURTHER TESTING NASA officials have decided that further testing on the Wide Field/Planetary Camera II (WF/PCII), an instrument scheduled to fly on the Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission in December, might be necessary. The instrument, now at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Fla., may be returned to the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., for the tests, according to Joseph Rothenberg, Associate Director of Flight Projects for Hubble Space Telescope (HST) at Goddard. The additional testing is not expected to impact on the planned Dec. 2 launch. A decision on whether the instrument will be returned to Goddard is expected to be made Sunday, Rothenberg said. Officials are waiting until Sunday to allow completion of further testing, which is being conducted at the Maryland facility. Optical experts at Goddard conducted tests until 1:30 a.m. Friday and will continue practically around-the-clock until early Sunday morning, Rothenberg said. Further testing of the instrument is required because of new

results from earlier tests at Goddard which show that the focus point for HST might be outside the adjustment range for on-orbit focusing by remote control from Goddard, Rothenberg explained. Rothenberg said the instrument may be returned to Goddard for 3 weeks. - more -

-2Closeout of the solar arrays and the Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement (COSTAR) instrument at KSC are continuing at the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility. On Oct. 1, they will arrive at the Vertical Processing Facility to begin compatibility tests with the Space Shuttle, KSC officials said. If the decision is made to return WF/PC II to Goddard, the instrument would rejoin the flow without schedule impact after its return to KSC, according to KSC officials. On orbit focusing, according to Rothenberg, involves focusing the WF/PC II by moving the observatory's secondary mirror. Once the WF/PC II is focused, the COSTAR, which has adjustable mirrors, is focused so both instruments are in focus using the same secondary mirror position. In a more detailed analysis of the test previously carried out at Goddard, officials discovered error margins that showed that the WF/PC II might be at the very edge of COSTAR's adjustment range and that focusing both instruments simultaneously might not be possible. The magnitude of the error is about 7.5 millimeters, or about one third of an inch, Rothenberg said. This data, he explained, is inconsistent with results of all other testing carried out at Goddard and at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., where the instrument was built. As a result, he continued, a procedural error in the testing or a discrepancy in the way the test was set up is believed to have caused an erroneous measurement. Rothenberg said NASA will not launch the WF/PC II until the discrepancy is understood. The planned 11-day mission will have from five to seven spacewalks for servicing the observatory. The

WF/PC II is a second generation instrument that will replace WF/PC I. HST was launched in April 1990. Approximately 2 months after launch, a manufacturing flaw in the observatory's primary mirror was discovered that resulted in limiting the scientific achievements of the spacecraft. The COSTAR, built by Ball Aerospace, Boulder, Colo., is designed to correct for the manufacturing flaw and improve the capabilities of the three remaining instruments on the observatory. - end -