After 'tour de force' mission, NASA crew says goodbye to Hubble

Atlantis astronauts release telescope; now turning their attention shuttle's heat shield

With the final spacewalk of their mission complete, the seven-astronaut crew of the space shuttle Atlantis today is preparing to release the Hubble Space Telescope.

NASA Astronauts Drew Feustel and John Grunsfeld completed the mission's fifth and final spacewalk on Monday, replacing one of Hubble's three Fine Guidance Sensors, and installing a second three-battery module and a stainless steel thermal protection blanket on three of the telescope's bay doors.

Hubble should resume peering into the cosmos again in about three weeks.

"This is a really tremendous adventure that we've been on, a very challenging mission. Hubble isn't just a satellite -- it's about humanity's quest for knowledge," said Grunsfeld outside the shuttle's airlock at the end of the mission. "A tour de force of tools and human ingenuity. On this mission in particular, the only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible. On this mission, we tried some things that some people said were impossible. We've achieved that, and we wish Hubble the very best."

The astronaut also said he hopes the Hubble telescope will be able to use its new instruments to "unlock further mysteries of the universe."

The crew of the Atlantis has been in space for nearly eight days on a mission to repair and upgrade Hubble. The work is expected to not only keep the orbiter running for another five years at least, it's expected to make the telescope more powerful than ever and enable it to make more and more important discoveries.

With the spacewalks behind them, the NASA astronauts this morning prepared the telescope, which was held in the shuttle's payload bay while it was serviced, for its return to orbit. Mission Specialist Megan McArthur then operated the robotic arm, which grappled the telescope at 6:45 a.m. EDT today. She maneuvered Hubble to a point above the shuttle bay before releasing it a little more than two hours later.

After the release, Commander Scott Altman and Pilot Gregory Johnson maneuvered Atlantis away from the orbiter.

Later in the day, the shuttle crew and NASA's ground team will turn their attention to examining the shuttle's heat shield system.

A day after the shuttle Atlantis blasted off last week, the crew used the robotic arm and an attached sensor to inspect critical areas of the shuttle's thermal protection system, especially on the craft's nose and the edges of its wings. NASA reported that day they had found multiple dings on four different heat shield tiles. The damage, the space agency reported, looked to be minor.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags NASAhubbleatlantis

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?