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Hubble Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Servicing Mission 1


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Hubble Celebrates 30th Anniversary of Servicing Mission 1

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Astronaut F. Story Musgrave works in the space shuttle Endeavour's cargo bay while the solar array panels on the Hubble Space Telescope are deployed during the final Servicing Mission 1 spacewalk.
NASA

In the pre-dawn hours on Dec. 2, 1993, the space shuttle Endeavour launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on a critical mission to repair NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

Hubble was designed to be serviced in space with components that astronauts can slide in and out of place. But prior to launch, no one expected the first servicing mission to be of such urgency.

For three years, Hubble had been the punchline of late-night comics and editorial cartoons: the telescope that couldn’t see straight. Since its deployment in 1990, the telescope had been beaming blurry images back to Earth, the result of a flaw in the shape of its primary mirror.

Read More: ➡️ NASA

 

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30 Years Ago: STS-61, the First Hubble Servicing Mission

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“Trying to do stellar observations from Earth is like trying to do birdwatching from the bottom of a lake.”  James B. Odom, Hubble Program Manager 1983-1990.

The discovery after its launch that the Hubble Space Telescope’s primary mirror suffered from a flaw disappointed scientists who could not obtain the sharp images they had expected. But thanks to the Hubble’s built-in feature of on-orbit servicing, NASA devised a plan to correct the telescope’s optics during the first planned repair mission. The agency assigned one of its most experienced crews to undertake the complex tasks, naming Richard O. Covey, Kenneth D. Bowersox, Kathryn C. Thornton, Claude Nicollier of the European Space Agency, Jeffrey A. Hoffman, F. Story Musgrave, and Thomas D. Akers to the STS-61 first Hubble Servicing Mission. The first all veteran crew since the STS-26 return to flight mission in 1988 had a cumulative 16 previous missions among them and all had previous spacewalking experience. During their 11-day flight in December 1993, they repaired the telescope during an unprecedented five spacewalks in a single space shuttle mission, rendering it more capable than originally designed.

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Left: The STS-61 crew of Kenneth D. Bowersox, sitting left, Kathryn C. Thornton, F. Story Musgrave, and Claude Nicollier of the European Space Agency; Richard O. Covey, standing left, Jeffrey A. Hoffman, and Thomas D. Akers. Middle: The STS-61 crew patch. Right: Endeavour rolls over from Launch Pad 39A to 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Read More: ➡️ NASA

 

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Astronaut Kathryn Thornton Works on Hubble Space Telescope

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NASA

In this image from Dec. 8, 1993, astronaut Kathryn C. Thornton works with equipment during a spacewalk. The spacewalk was part of an 11-day mission, Servicing Mission 1, to service the Hubble Space Telescope.

Read More: ➡️ NASA

 

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