NASA EDGE: Last Mission to Hubble

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NASA EDGE: Last Mission to Hubble
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NASA EDGE – Last Mission to Hubble

Featuring: Last Mission to Hubble Trivia Quiz, Interviews with both a premier Hubble Engineer and the STS-125 Astronaut Crew.

NASA EDGE celebrates the Last Mission to Hubble. With a new Hubble trivia quiz, an inside look at Hubble engineering challenges from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and tons of pre-quarantine interviews with the Astronaut Crew from NASA Johnson Space Center, NASA EDGE gives you a front row seat for what most people consider the last mission to Hubble. The NASA EDGE Co-Host is convinced that we need to keep our Hubble mission options open in the future. What do you think?


CHRIS: Welcome to NASA Edge.

FRANKLIN: An inside and outside look at all things NASA.

CHRIS: I’m really excited about today’s vodcast because this is our Hubble vodcast.

BLAIR: In fact, I was telling Franklin, I’m wearing my Hubble glasses today.

FRANKLIN: The same style glasses that they used when Hubble was launched.

CHRIS: Wow, you better get a correction.

BLAIR: No, I’m bringing it back. These are very good glasses.

CHRIS: This is an exciting vodcast because we have two cool interviews coming up later in the show. You guys had a chance to go up to Goddard to meet with Mike Weiss.

BLAIR: Mike Weiss, who is the guru of engineering.

FRANKLIN: A genius.

CHRIS: A genius. And then we went down to Johnson Space Center to meet with the crew.

BLAIR: Yeah. Brilliant guys.

CHRIS: We’ll look forward to seeing that interview, especially the interview that you had with Mike Weiss up there. But before we get to that, I’ve got a game.

BLAIR: Oh games. I love fun and games.

CHRIS: I’ve got the last mission to Hubble trivia game.

BLAIR: Okay but I’ve got to just dispute. I don’t think it should be considered the last mission. I’m holding out hope that…

CHRIS: We’ll talk about that later. I know you don’t like it being the last mission but it’s the last mission to Hubble trivia game. It’s going to be between you, Franklin, and we have a guest on line. Her name is Brittany.

BLAIR: Brittany?

CHRIS: Sauser, from up North.

BLAIR: From up North?

CHRIS: You might remember who she is. Brittany, hello.

BRITTANY: Hi, how are you all?

CHRIS: How is every thing going?

FRANKLIN: Pretty good.

BLAIR: Hello, Brittany.

CHRIS: Blair, do you remember Brittany?

BLAIR: Uh, no. I have to be honest. I don’t.

CHRIS: She is our web producer for Technology Review magazine.

BLAIR: Oh, from, oh, ah, hey, she should be disqualified for the quiz.

CHRIS: Why is that?

BLAIR: She’s going to be really smart.

[all laughing]

BLAIR: I’m looking to get a curve, a grade on a mathematical curve.

CHRIS: But you’re an insider now. Aren’t you?

BLAIR: Well, you know.

CHRIS: Or are you still trying to be an insider.

BLAIR: No. I mean, you’re bringing in outsiders that are smarter than me. So, I’m bested on both fronts. I’ve got to be really careful.

CHRIS: Well Brittany, are you ready to play?

BRITTANY: I’m ready.

CHRIS: Each question is worth one point. The way we’re going to do it is… Brittany, you are on an honor system. Guys, if you could, close your laptops because you’re not allowed to use computers here. You just have a piece of paper and a pencil.

FRANKLIN: Guys, can I use Ron as my lifeline?

[both laughing]

CHRIS: Question #1: This is true or false. The weight of the payload is the heaviest ever carried aboard the shuttle on a Hubble servicing mission?

CHRIS: Question #2: This is multiple choice.

BLAIR: Oh, good.

CHRIS: Hubble is about the size of… A. a mini van; B. The Ares I upper stage; C. a school bus; or D. a 747 fuselage.

BLAIR: Brittany, any thoughts on this before I write my answer.

BRITTANY: I can’t share.

CHRIS: Can’t share. Can’t share.

CHRIS: Question #3: This is fill in the blank. The Hubble servicing mission launch will mark the first time since July 2001 (blank).

BLAIR: Okay, technical question on this.

CHRIS: No technical question. You’ve just got to fill in the blank.

BLAIR: Okay, but can we get points for creativity if we’re wrong?

CHRIS: Nope. No points for creativity.

BRITTANY: This is just a fill in the blank, not an essay?

CHRIS: Not an essay. How are you doing on this question, Brittany?

BRITTANY: I think pretty good. I think I’ve got this one. There’s a few I’m a little shaky on but um…

CHRIS: The Hubble Space Telescope was launched in April 1990. What won best picture at the Academy Awards one month before? Was it A. Dances with Wolves; B. Driving Miss Daisy; C. Rain Man; D. The Silence of the Lambs?

BLAIR: Yeah. I’ve got this one. I’ve locked this one down pat.

BRITTANY: Oh, is this the only one you’ve got right?

[all laughing]


BLAIR: Now I know why I didn’t remember Brittany. Our original conversation was probably very similar to this.

CHRIS: Okay, here’s the bonus question. Why is this the 5th servicing mission of Hubble if it’s called SM4? Okay Brittany, we’re going to go with you first.

BRITTANY: I chose true.

CHRIS: True?

BLAIR: True.


CHRIS: That’s the correct answer.


CHRIS: Very good. Not bad, everyone gets a point.

BRITTANY: One down.

CHRIS: Okay, #2, Hubble is about the size of what, Brittany?

BRITTANY: Um, I went with the school bus on this one.

CHRIS: School bus. What did you say?

BLAIR: That was C. I went with school bus.

FRANKLIN: School bus.

CHRIS: Okay, school bus is correct. Very good. Next question. The Hubble servicing mission will mark the first time since July 2001, this is a tough one.


CHRIS: Brittany, what do you think?

BRITTANY: On this one I wrote that this is the first time two shuttles are on pad 39A and 39B?

CHRIS: Wow, actually that was a pretty good guess. What did you say?

BLAIR: Oh, that’s exactly what I said. I said two shuttles have been on pad. I didn’t go so far as to provide numeric detail.

CHRIS: What did you say?

FRANKLIN: Two shuttles were on both pads.

CHRIS: That’s the correct answer.


CHRIS: Great job. Okay.

BRITTANY: Wow. Do I get a bonus point for actually naming the pad.


CHRIS: Yeah, I think so. Brittany, in your case, yes, we’ll give you a bonus point.

BLAIR: I’m feeling good about the next question.

CHRIS: Oh great.

BLAIR: I think I’ve got that one.

CHRIS: The Hubble Space Telescope was launched in April 1990. What won best picture at the Academy Awards one month before? What do you think Brittany?

BRITTANY: I guessed on this one. I had to go with B.

CHRIS: Driving Miss Daisy?

BRITTANY: Driving Miss Daisy.

CHRIS: Interesting. What did you say Franklin?

FRANKLIN: Morgan Freeman?

CHRIS: Driving Miss Daisy. Wow.

BLAIR: They’re both wrong. It’s Dances with Wolves.

CHRIS: Wow. Answer is B, Driving Miss Daisy.


BLAIR: That is not true.

BRITTANY: Wow. Movie buff, there.

CHRIS: Here’s what I did. Dances with Wolves came out the year after. All right? Rain Man came the year before.


CHRIS: And Silence of the Lambs came two years after.

BLAIR: I knew Silence of the Lambs wasn’t it.

CHRIS: Okay. That’s okay. You’re only one down. You get a bonus here. Here’s the bonus.

BRITTANY: I think it’s because the servicing mission 3 was actually divided in half. So they made an A & B out of it because of the operations they had to do?

CHRIS: So you’re saying there’s an SM3A and a “B.”


CHRIS: Okay.

FRANKLIN: Because I’ve honed up on my Hubble history before we started, it is because they split the mission, SM3, into two parts, A & B.

BLAIR: Um, I thought it was cancelled after the space shuttle tragedy in ’03.

CHRIS: No, they’re correct. It’s SM3 divided into two. So technically, that’s four missions. This is the 5th mission, even though it’s called SM4.

BLAIR: That’s very interesting.

CHRIS: Let’s tab the points. Well, you didn’t actually…

FRANKLIN: Hey Blair, like I always say

CHRIS: Brittany, you actually got them all right and you have the ½ point. What did you have?

FRANKLIN: I have them all.

CHRIS: Wow. Okay. That was a great game.

BLAIR: That was not a great game. That was a lousy game.

CHRIS: I was actually disappointed that you didn’t get the Driving Miss Daisy. I thought that was for you.

BLAIR: I really was. Ya know, I’m forty. What can I say? Or soon to be and I’m losing my memory. I’m sorry. I apologize.

FRANKLIN: I was just thinking Morgan Freeman was just in a couple of movies these past couple of months, Batman and Wanted, so I was like…

BLAIR: That means nothing. Brittany, I’m a little concerned. I want to make sure. You had no outside help there, right?

BRITTANY: I had none. No.

BLAIR: You did that all straight up.

CHRIS: The problem with her is she works for Technology Review.

BLAIR: She’s a genius. That’s a problem.

CHRIS: She did a story on the Hubble and James Webb. I didn’t realize that until…

BLAIR: Actually I remember the story. I read the story that you did on the Hubble. I should have known.

CHRIS: By the way, you did a great job, Brittany.

BRITTANY: Thank you, thank you.

BLAIR: Back in January, I think, you wrote this story.

BRITTANY: I did. I can’t remember the exact issue but it was within the last year.

BLAIR: And we want to do a future story, right? We’re going to look for some technology for you to do a story on or something like that.

BRITTANY: Yes, definitely. I’m very anxious to do something.

CHRIS: Go take a break and when we come back, we’ll talk about your interview with Mike Weiss and more about Hubble.

BLAIR: Yeah. And I’ll find out whether, in fact, that was Driving Miss Daisy. When it came out. I have to double-check my answer.

CHRIS: Okay, cool. You’re watching NASA Edge.

BLAIR: An inside and outside look at all things NASA.


FRANKLIN: Welcome back to NASA Edge, quiz show edition.

BLAIR: It’s also an inside and outside look at all things NASA. That’s good.

BLAIR: I did do some research and I now know why I got the question wrong about the movies. Dances with Wolves won best picture for 1990 but that ceremony would have been in the spring of 1991.

FRANKLIN: The reason you got it wrong is it’s just like the SAT. You have to read the question. You have to understand it.

CHRIS: I’ll tell you what. Let me give you another question to redeem yourself.

BLAIR: Okay. Is this like double or nothing?

CHRIS: I have a number of questions. This is a fill in the blank.

BLAIR: Okay. Fill in the blank. I got it. All ready feel good about it.

CHRIS: During a typical orbit, Hubble approximately uses the same energy as (blank) 100-watt light bulbs. How many 100-watt light bulbs does Hubble approximately use?

BLAIR: One million.

CHRIS: One million? What do you think?

FRANKLIN: That’s a lot of wattage, Doc.

BLAIR: That’s what I’m saying. It takes a lot of wattage. Actually it doesn’t.

FRANKLIN: It does not.

BLAIR: Yeah. You’re right. Hmm.

CHRIS: Would you like to re…? Approximately.


CHRIS: Ten? Okay.

FRANKLIN: About 30?

CHRIS: The exact answer is about 28.

BLAIR: There is no way you knew that. You talked to Mike Weiss when we were up there, didn’t you? You got some inside information from the genius.

FRANKLIN: No. You’ve got to consider the time when the Hubble was launched. It just doesn’t take that much power to operate and we’re just talking one orbit.

CHRIS: Speaking of Mike Weiss, let’s go check out your interview.

BLAIR: That’s what I’m saying. Franklin and I, for those that don’t know, went up to NASA Goddard.

FRANKLIN: When I left Goddard, I actually felt smarter when I walked off the base.

CHRIS: Did you?


CHRIS: There’s a lot of engineering behind Hubble.

BLAIR: Oh, no doubt.

CHRIS: That’s the engineering center, right?

BLAIR: Oh yeah.

CHRIS: Let’s go watch the segment and learn more.

BLAIR: All right.

BLAIR: We’re here at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center with Mike Weiss, who’s giving Franklin and me the unique opportunity to see exactly what they go through when they’re planning an EVA mission. We’re going to be working with a Hubble trainer, which is essentially part of the Hubble, a mock-up or trainer. We’re going to see if we can become rocket scientists and figure out how to help the astronauts prepare.

BLAIR: I can touch the yellow handle? All right.

MIKE: Yellow is touchable.

BLAIR: Yellow is touchable and that’s much easier in zero-g obviously. So Franklin, what do we have to think of on behalf of the astronauts in an EVA?

FRANKLIN: First thing that comes to mind is that when we connect the power, keeping the Hubble Telescope operating, so it doesn’t get too cold or hot because we’re dealing with extreme temperatures in space.

BLAIR: That’s a good point. How in the world are you going to be able with your astronaut suit to get in there and work these connections?

MIKE: Well, we start in the laboratory environment, just like you see here. We go through the procedures ourselves, usually starting with your bare hands. And we see where they want to put their bodies and where they want to put their hands, where they want to put their feet, how the hardware is going to behave in zero-g. And in this particular case, since the door is open on hinges and the shuttle is moving around a little bit for altitude control, this door is going to bounce a little bit. In flight we’ve actually installed a door stay to help that door stay in position.

BLAIR: Awesome.

MIKE: So that is stays open to the right configuration.

FRANKLIN: One of the things I’m thinking when you’re in space, when you have your gloves, these aren’t the type of connectors that you can actually grab…

BLAIR: That’s a good point.

FRANKLIN: … and twist in space. Especially the ones connected to the power unit. You usually need to get fingertips in there.

BLAIR: You know, Mike, that reminds me. I’m going to need some high fidelity trainer gloves.

BLAIR: Oh, uh! In space, I would have just headed off to another planet to retrieve them.

FRANKLIN: Actually, they would have been right there.

BLAIR: That’s true.

FRANKLIN: On the horizon.

BLAIR: Okay, got it.

MIKE: Franklin, here’s a pair for you. They might be a little tight.

FRANKLIN: This is what I was talking about.

MIKE: Oh, outstanding.

FRANKLIN: Yes, yes.

BLAIR: Tactility. Okay, so actually if I get in here I can actually, even with the glove on, I can at least get some tension on it.

MIKE: Remember in space, that gloved hand is going to be pressurized. So you won’t exactly have the kind of mobility you have here without a pressurized glove.

BLAIR: Okay. Do we have a tool that we would use on something like this?

MIKE: It’s actually one of the first things we saw when we started designing this task. We needed…


BLAIR’S MOM: Well, Blair’s smart and he has a vivid imagination. He’s a creative thinker.

MIKE: Why don’t we do one for you so you can see…

BLAIR: That would be a good idea for insurance purposes.

MIKE: … how it might work.

BLAIR: That’s not live, is it?

MIKE: No. It’s completely un-powered. So see, here’s our quarter turn and the connector comes off. We have our first connector off and you might notice a couple of other attributes. There are decals on the connectors.


MIKE: And corresponding decals on the box. These connectors actually have a key in them. So the idea is to line up the key with the slot indicated on the decal. Once you’ve removed all the connectors, you need to know where they go back on.

FRANKLIN: Mike, generally how much time do the astronauts have to make the switch?

MIKE: We start off designing the task with six hours per EVA day. Typical Hubble flights have 5 EVA days, total of 30 hours of EVA. But once they go out the door to do a task, they have six hours to get that task done and get back in.

BLAIR: So you start here, with you and a bunch of engineers to work our some initial plans. How do you test if those will work?

MIKE: We go as far as we can in the lab. And there’s only so far we can go when we’re in our street clothes and we’re trying things with gloves on. So the next step is to go underwater. There’s a big tank in Houston, that’s called the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory.


MIKE: NBL. If they’re underwater, our engineers are on scuba. If they’re in the clean room, they’re in bunny suits following the hardware. The next step is underwater. We’ll learn as much as we can. We’ll come back to the lab. Iterate the design. It’s really just the scientific method applied.

BLAIR: For all of the EVAs that you have planned for SM4, you have high fidelity trainers that you’ve used to help determine their agenda or the procedures they’re all going to go through.

MIKE: Exactly.

BLAIR: Is there any chance we could get into the clean room, maybe?

MIKE: What we’ll do is go down to the vestibule, gown up and head into the clean room.

BLAIR: I did shower today. I don’t know if that counts.

MIKE: You’re going to get another shower.

FRANKLIN: That’s important. I’m glad you did that.

MIKE: Here we are. Welcome to the world’s largest clean room.

MIKE: You’re seeing one of the purposes of this stuff being in the clean room, which is to get it in its final flight configuration.

MIKE: The hardware comes in here. It gets buttoned up for flight. It gets electrically tested. It gets tested together as if it’s flying both in the Shuttle and the Hubble components get tested as if they’re flying on Hubble. And the astronauts also come here for dress rehearsals for the mission.

MIKE: On this flight, we’re taking up about 23,000 pounds to orbit. That big thing on top is what’s going to hold the Wide Field Camera 3, Hubble’s brand new imaging camera.

BLAIR: You’re watching NASA Edge.

FRANKLIN: An inside and outside look at all things NASA.

BLAIR: See, what’s amazing about that is they do that for every kind of mission, whether it’s changing the Wide Field Cameras or something else, always sitting and figuring out exactly how or what it’s going to take from an engineering stand point to fix these things. Not just there but then in the clean room, then down at Johnson and then in the pool, out of the pool, everything.

CHRIS: What I want to know is did you get a chance to sneak in the pizza in the clean room?


BLAIR: Oh no. That was a body cavity search like none other. I’ve never been that clean.

CHRIS: Tell you what. Let’s take a break and when we come back, we’ll have a chance to talk to the astronauts.

BLAIR: Absolutely.

CHRIS: You’re watching NASA Edge.

BLAIR: An inside and outside look…

FRANKLIN: at all things NASA.

BLAIR: Very good.


BLAIR: Welcome to NASA Edge.

FRANKLIN: An inside and outside look at all things NASA.

CHRIS: Hey, before we… [begins laughing]

BLAIR: You’re mocking me. That’s okay. One take was high pitched. That’s all right. I can take it. Go ahead.

CHRIS: Before we talked to the Hubble crew, we haven’t really gone over what the primary and secondary objectives are.

BLAIR: We’ve touched on it a little.

CHRIS: They’re going to be installing two new advance instruments. One is called the Cosmic Origin Spectrograph.

BLAIR: Or spinal graph… Spiro graph. I forget which one it was.

CHRIS: The second one, they’re going to install the wide field camera. They’re going to be upgrading the gyros. Also, refurbishing the fine guidance sensors, replacing some batteries.

BLAIR: Some battery work, which we talked with Mike about.

CHRIS: And also the new outer blanket layers. They’re going to be replacing thermal insulation on several bays of the telescope.

BLAIR: Which is why again, I hate to say it’s the last mission. Because if they….

CHRIS: You’re still stuck on that, aren’t you?

BLAIR: They need more blankets.

CHRIS: We’ll get to that later in the show. If you want to learn more about Hubble, just go to You can learn all about the servicing mission and what Hubble has done over the past eighteen years.

BLAIR: Can I take one more shot at the quiz?

CHRIS: Oh, you want…

BLAIR: I would like another shot.

CHRIS: All right, cool.

BLAIR: These are all Hubble related questions. After re-watching the Mike Weiss thing, I’m feeling good again.

CHRIS: For you, the home viewer.

BLAIR: Yes. [laughing]

CHRIS: Pointing Hubble and locking onto distant celestial objects is equivalent to holding a laser light steady on a dime that is A. 10 miles away; B. 200 miles away; C. 3,000 miles away; or D. 40,000 miles away?

BLAIR: I really want to go with D. It seems a little impossible, so I’m going with C.

CHRIS: C? All right, what do you think?

FRANKLIN: I’m going to go with B.

CHRIS: Answer is B, 200 miles away.

CHRIS: Well, okay.

BLAIR: People are learning about the Hubble. That’s good. I’m getting the answers wrong but…

CHRIS: These are some cool fun facts about the Hubble that we’re giving at Blair’s expense.

BLAIR: Speaking of fun though, I know these guys have serious jobs but we did have the opportunity to meet and interview some of the astronauts down at Johnson. They’re fun guys.

CHRIS: Some of the astronauts, we met the whole crew, all seven.

BLAIR: If you remember, I didn’t get to participate in all the interviews. I only got to participate in one with our two buddies.

CHRIS: I feel bad. Unfortunately, Franklin couldn’t make that trip. He was out on vacation somewhere.

BLAIR: I needed you, Franklin, because Massimino was tough. He kept hitting me with the bullet questions. I couldn’t answer and I was throwing out my name, rank, and serial number. I’m not even in the military. Serial number? That’s not right. Name, rank, and…

CHRIS: Serial number. That’s right.

BLAIR: Serial number? Wow. Okay.

CHRIS: Let’s check out the interview.

BLAIR: Hey, it’s good to be with you guys again, as you get ready for your big mission with Hubble. We were at Goddard, talking with Mike Weiss, and he was telling us about the stages of training.

DREW: We are using what we call the Pogo. I have no idea what that acronym stands for. I know what it does though.

BLAIR: Okay.

DREW: It levitates hardware for us to simulate a zero-g environment. While one of us is standing at the back of this instrument, installing it into this opening, the other one is up close here, talking about the relationship between the rub strip on the side of the instrument that’s going in and this which we call the guide rail. There are two of those. The key for us as installers is to listen to the cues that the guy close to the telescope is giving as we lead it in there because we really can’t see those. When you’re back behind the instrument, you can’t see anything except a face full of instruments.

MIKE: One of the things that might not be obvious is when Drew says he’s on the other end of this instrument and he’s holding onto it, pushing it into the telescope, he’s actually connected to the robotic arm.


MIKE: So there’s another player on the team, our arm driver, robotic arm operator, Megan McArthur. Drew is connected, standing in a footplate, that’s then connected to the arm. So he has both his hands free to work but she’s moving him in, because he’s out there floating in space in front of the telescope.

DREW: The way it works is I listen to John. Megan listens to me and we relay commands. Based on what he’s saying I give certain commands or requests to Megan, asking for different positions and rotations.

MIKE: Before, we’d go and do this in a pool, which is a big event, with the suits and a lot of support. We can come over here and practice. This has a little better fidelity for the feel of the instruments going in.

BLAIR: That’s a good point. You don’t use suits here, that wouldn’t be too helpful. Do you at least use gloves for tactile reasons?

DREW: Sometimes. But here, it’s really about teamwork. In fact, one of the things we usually do with each session is do one install with our eyes closed.

BLAIR: Since you are paired up with veteran and rookie, how are you going to handle this in terms of… they’ve been there. They know what it’s like. They can go out and maybe acclimate more quickly. What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you exit the air lock, when you head out for your first EVA.

DREW: After we panic? [laughing]

BLAIR: I’m falling!

MIKE: They can’t hear you scream in space. That’s important to know. The first thing we’re both going to do when we go out on that first spacewalk is we’ll go out second. The other guy will go out first and get us hooked up, our safety tether. He’ll get us hooked up out there. When we come out of the air lock, we’ll take a moment to do what we call translation adaptation, which means we get a feel for how we can move around out there. We were talking earlier about moving slowly and get a feel for how to control your body. Take a few minutes to check it out.

BLAIR: You refer to this as the baby grand?

DREW: That’s right.

BLAIR: Do you find that with all this training, you’re at home and you start moving furniture by rote just because you’re doing it so much in preparation?

MIKE: No. When I’m at home, I try to do as little work as possible.

DREW: Yeah.

MIKE: I like to just sit on the couch and watch TV and all that stuff. I like to watch NASA Edge on NASA TV.


CHRIS: You’ve got a big mission coming up here later this year. Now, you were the commander for the last servicing mission back in ’02. How does that mission compare to this one coming up?

SCOTT: In a lot of ways it’s the same. We’re going to the same place. The rendezvous profiles are very similar, five EVAs, that’s the same. But when you look at the content, it’s changed a little bit. We’re starting to do some repairs of boxes inside the telescope. On the last mission, we pulled things out and put new boxes in.

CHRIS: Right.

SCOTT: We’re doing some of that but we’re also opening boxes up and pulling computer cards out.

CHRIS: You guys are going to be busy with 5 EVAs and repairing the Hubble and replacing equipment that’s going to be a great task.

SCOTT: The one problem is going back and doing it again is I remember the last flight and how hard it was and how hard we worked. Where as before, oh, this will be fine. It will all work out. Wow! This is a lot of work.

JACKY: What are the other responsibilities that you have during this mission?

GREGORY: At least as the pilot, I back Scooter up both for the ascent, the rendezvous, and, of course, the descend landing. I define myself as the Scooter replacement unit.

[all laughing]

JACKY: This is the first time you’re piloting the Shuttle, correct?

GREGORY: Correct, this is the first time flying it.

JACKY: How do you feel about it?

GREGORY: I’m pretty excited.

JACKY: Really?

GREGORY: Yeah, a lot of training.

JACKY: A little nervous, maybe?

GREGORY: Uh, maybe not so nervous as excited to be going up to Hubble. It’s really neat to go up that high.

JACKY: How does the rest of your family feel about what you’re doing?

GREGORY: My kids are pretty excited. I’ve been flying since I was seventeen years old, so this is just another flying job to them.

SCOTT: My neighbor said, you’re the mission commander. What do you really do up there anyway? That’s what I hope to make happen. If we do train well and everyone knows their jobs, I can just sit back and let it all unfold and take credit for everything.

CHRIS: You’ve flown with two other astronauts, Mike Massimino and John Grunsfeld. So you’re actually bringing experience with some of the new guys coming in to make a complete team.

SCOTT: That was the idea. There’s a lot of pressure on this mission. We want to make it as good as possible. So we thought we’d pull experience from people who’ve gone there before along with adding some new folks to share that experience with and move on for the future.

CHRIS: Now with this particular mission, you’re going to be flying at 28½ degrees inclination, which is different from going to Station. So for this mission you need a safety, a backup just in case for this mission, right?

SCOTT: Yeah. Like you said we can’t make it to the Station because we’re launching at that low inclination. So, Station, as a place, a safe haven to go to, is not available for us. So, we’ve planned to create our own safe haven by carry some extra supplies, so we can extend and stay up there for an extra 20 days or so until another shuttle could come and rescue us.

JACKY: And this is an 11-day mission?

GREGORY: Yes, it’s 11 days plus we have a couple of days of consumables to get good weather to land.

CHRIS: There was a certain pilot that buzzed the tower in Top Gun back in ’86. Is that correct?

SCOTT: There was a pilot who did that. Yes, yes. And the nice thing is if that was just a pilot that buzzed the tower, the wings would have gotten peeled off by the Navy. But because we were making a movie, they told me I had to buzz the tower. And I said, “Okay.”

GREGORY: Good to go.

CHRIS: Now, what are the chances of you guys buzzing the tower when you come back on the Shuttle?

GREGORY: Ah, we’re coming in at an 18-degree glide path. We’ve got one chance to land.

CHRIS: Right.

GREGORY: We’re going to make sure we use it.

SCOTT: I told Ray J I’m only going to take the first landing. If we go around, he can have the second one.

CHRIS: Well, thanks Scott and Greg. Good luck on the mission. We’re going to be watching you. We’ll be down at the launch to check you guys out.

SCOTT: Well, great. We appreciate that.

CHRIS: Thank you very much.

GREGORY: Okay. Thank you, Jacky.

JACKY: Thank you very much. Thank you.

SCOTT: Thanks.

Segment 4

FRANKLIN: Welcome back to NASA EDGE.

BLAIR: An inside and outside look at all things NASA.

CHRIS: I’ve got an issue. I’m looking at the vodcast outline. You know Jacky was part of the interview of this last segment but we didn’t even talk about her going in.

FRANKLIN: Blair’s used to throwing her under the bus.

BLAIR: No. No, that’s not true!

CHRIS: I know you’ve got to email her but let’s talk to her right now. Hey Jacky?


CHRIS: What do you think about that?

JACKY: I’m really disappointed. I really thought this was a team effort. I can’t believe he forgot me. I did hear you were a little jealous of me joining the team.

BLAIR: [sighs] CHRIS &


BLAIR: You know these guys. You know they would say anything to abuse me. No, it was the Massimino thing. You were there. You remember how he scared the daylights out of me, in a good way, because he’s a nice guy.

MASSIMINO’S VOICE: Hey, what’s going on?

JACKY: So that made you forget about me?

BLAIR: I, I forgot about everything.

CHRIS: Since we interviewed Megan McArthur and Mike Massimino, why don’t you go ahead and introduce the segment.

JACKY: Okay, great. I had a great time with this interview and I think Chris and I would love to share it with everyone else. So, check it out.

CHRIS: Hey, we’re in the Virtual Reality Lab with Megan McArthur and Mike Massimino as they are training for the STS-125 mission, the Hubble servicing mission.

MEGAN: Right now we are going to practice one of our spacewalk tasks. We have one guy on the arm. We have another guy standing by to assist that and I’m driving the arm to put the first guy into position.

CHRIS: So the view you see here on the screen is what you would see inside the shuttle?

MEGAN: This would be like me looking out the back window of the shuttle. Yeah.

CHRIS: All right.

JACKY: Mike, can you tell us how this is going to help your mission, this type of training?

MIKE: Yeah, the cool thing about it being virtual reality is it allows you to go into the environment. I can look around here. Right now, I’m looking around the payload bay of the orbiter. I can see where equipment is going to be. It is really, very well thought out and planned. So, it’s high definition and they have it look just like it would on orbit. I am looking at the telescope itself and I can see the handrails. I can put my hands on where the handrails would be, move around and go around the telescope. Uh, it shows me all the definition of what it’s going to look like. Because we do have a big model in the pool that we use that allows us to practice underwater practice the spacewalks.

CHRIS: What’s the first thing you would like to do once you’re in low-Earth orbit?

MEGAN: I think it’s going to be awhile before you’ll even have time to stop and think about where you are and what you’re really doing. We’re going to be really busy right from the get go. We’re going to hit the ground running and get the orbiter ready for all the tests that we have to do. If we get a chance to breath, I’ll be wanting to look out the window and look at the earth go by.

JACKY: And you’ve been on a Hubble mission before?

MIKE: I have. Yes.

JACKY: Now that you have that experience, is it a huge difference?

MIKE: Um, it is a big difference when you’re actually there. That day is a big day. You’ve been training for a while, your entire life. And you haven’t had a chance to spacewalk. So that first spacewalk day is a big day. But this can’t really simulate that well is what you’re going to see when you’re looking around you. Not when you’re doing your job but when you’re looking around the environment of space, looking at the earth, looking at the stars. It is beyond words. There is nothing, no simulator, that can get you ready to see that stuff.

MEGAN: It can be a pretty constant stream of communication while we’re moving the arm, while we’re trying to fine tune the position and I have to rely on the guy that’s on the boom or the free float guy to help me stay away from some of the objects. Like I have a lot of great camera views but I don’t have necessarily have a camera view that’s going to show me how far away I am from the telescope all the time. So, I’m really relying on them to give me that distance because the last thing I want to do is bump into one of them or bump into the telescope. That would be really bad.

CHRIS: Right. That would be a bad day for Mike too, especially if he was on the boom.

MEGAN: It would be a bad day for all of us.

MIKE: We always go out in pairs. It’s a team game. You don’t go out by yourself. You always have a partner you’re working with. You also have the rest of the team inside. You have Megan working the arm, of course. But we also have the other two spacewalkers going through the checklist. Spacewalking is an open book exam. It’s not closed book. If you have a question, they’ll give you the answer. So they’re following through the checklist, making sure we do what we’re supposed to do and helping us out. Scooter is being the commander, making sure everything goes smoothly. Greg Johnson or Ray J is our video. We’re just a small part of the whole team. Big team effort, not just with the astronauts but with everyone on the ground working with us.

MEGAN: The visual product that they create here, they have lots of different versions of it. I have a version that I can run on my laptop, which is invaluable to me when I’m thinking about planning a new move. Because I can look at where the crew member’s head is going to be and how they can reach whatever they need to get to. Take a snapshot picture, send it to the EVA guy and say, is this is what you were thinking? Is this where you want it to be? It works really well. It’s a very valuable tool. Then, when we get in the pool, where time is money, we already have an idea of where we want to go.

BLAIR: So, as you can see, Jacky a valuable part of the team. I’ll never make that mistake… What are you…?

CHRIS: Oh, I was just twittering our Texas Mac fan the fact that you lost the Hubble trivia quiz.

BLAIR: Wait. One final question. I know you’ve got one more.

CHRIS: One more, okay.

BLAIR: Give me a chance to redeem myself.

CHRIS: The farthest objects that Hubble has seen are galaxies well over blank light years away?

BLAIR: 25 billion. Oh, it’s multiple choice.

CHRIS: It’s multiple choice.

BLAIR: Okay, I’ll wait for the answers.

CHRIS: 5 million light years away; 12 parsecs, not light years; 2 trillion light years away; or 12 billion light years away.

BLAIR: I’m going with B. I’m going with parsecs cause that sounds really cool.

CHRIS: Okay.

BLAIR: Can I change my answer? It wasn’t just a nod. It was a look of great concern on Franklin’s face.

[all laughing]

BLAIR: Okay, I’m going to go with D.

CHRIS: D? It is D, 12 billion. Very good.


CHRIS: Congratulations.

BLAIR: Yes! Finally! See? Listen, I know we’ve got to wrap up a show. I have one thing that I’ve got to point out to you guys, if you are ready.

CHRIS: All right.

BLAIR: Okay. I know I’ve been abused this episode. I’ve been abused in a lot of episodes. You guys tried to humiliate me on the last show, on the Daytona show. If you need to roll tape, Ron, you can do it with regard to the space shuttle.

BLAIR: The Space Shuttle.

CHRIS: That’s incorrect.

FRANKLIN: That’s the orbiter.

CHRIS: The Space Shuttle is the entire system.

BLAIR: Come on, man.

FRANKLIN: Look, system is the key word here.

BLAIR: You know what that is? No, No. You know what that is? Old school.

BLAIR: Well, I’ve done some research. Okay?

CHRIS: Okay.

BLAIR: And I’ve found out that NASA, themselves, they use these terms interchangeably. And it’s not wrong to call that the space shuttle even though it’s the orbiter. I’ll grant you that. In fact, if you go to NASA’s page on landing…

CHRIS: Okay.

BLAIR: Landing is key because it obviously is not the whole system when it lands. Right? I quote, “Follow along with the landing, whether the space,” space shuttle not the orbiter, “whether the space shuttle lands at the prime landing site at Kennedy or at it’s backup landing site at Edwards Air Force Base.” So in their same terminology, they would be fine calling that the space shuttle. So when you busted on me and told me it’s the system, you’re wrong.

[Chris & Franklin laughing]

BLAIR: It is a system but this can also be called the shuttle. And I’ve got like 20 references from NASA documents talking about the shuttle as the orbiter, referring to it as the shuttle.

CHRIS: Okay, here’s what we’re going to do.

BLAIR: Okay.

CHRIS: After this vodcast, go to the blog and make a post and list your sources.

BLAIR: Okay.

CHRIS: And then, for the fans out there, what I want you to do is respond to that and see if you agree if that’s actually called the orbiter or the space shuttle.

BLAIR: Now that’s not what I’m disputing.

FRANKLIN: Hey Blair?


FRANKLIN: Two wrongs don’t make a right.

BLAIR: Thanks, Dad.

CHRIS: Hey, you’re watching NASA Edge.

FRANKLIN: An inside and outside look at all things NASA.

BLAIR: Even the Shuttle/Orbiter.

CHRIS: Go ahead and put those on and we’ll see what happens.

BLAIR: Okay.

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