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STS061-S-001 (1 Oct. 1993) --- Designed by the crew members, the STS-61 crew insignia depicts the astronaut symbol superimposed against the sky with the Earth underneath. Also seen are two circles representing the optical configuration of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Light is focused by reflections from a large primary mirror and a smaller secondary mirror. The light is analyzed by various instruments and, according to the crew members, "brings to us on Earth knowledge about planets, stars, galaxies and other celestial objects, allowing us to better understand the complex physical processes at work in the universe." The space shuttle Endeavour is also represented as the fundamental tool that allows the crew to perform the first servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope so its scientific deep space mission may be extended for several years to come. The overall design of the emblem, with lines converging to a high point, is also a symbolic representation of the large-scale Earth-based effort -- which involves space agencies, industry and the universities -- to reach goals of knowledge and perfection.    The NASA insignia design for space shuttle flights is reserved for use by the astronauts and for other official use as the NASA Administrator may authorize. Public availability has been approved only in the forms of illustrations by the various news media. When and if there is any change in this policy, which is not anticipated, the change will be publicly announced. Photo credit: NASA


Occurred 31 years ago

Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission (SM1)



mission duration

10 days, 19 hours, 51 minutes


December 2, 1993


December 13, 1993
STS-61 crew portrait with a model of the Hubble on the left in front, and a model of the Shuttle on the right. The American flag and the ESA flag are in the background.
These seven NASA astronauts trained for the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) servicing mission that launched in December 1993. Astronaut Richard O. Covey, mission commander, is standing at left, with astronaut Kenneth D. Bowersox, pilot, seated at left. The five mission specialists for the mission were (left to right, seated) astronauts Kathryn C. Thornton and F. Story Musgrave, and the European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Claude Nicollier; and (left to right, standing), astronauts Jeffrey A. Hoffman and Thomas D. Akers. Musgrave, Akers, Thornton and Hoffman participated in five total sessions of extravehicular activity (EVA) for the servicing tasks. (1 Oct. 1993)

STS-61 Mission Facts

Launch Pad: 39B
Launch Weight: 250,314 pounds
Launched: December 2, 1993 4:27:00 a.m. EST
Landing Site: Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Landing: December 13, 1993, 12:25:37 a.m. EST
Landing Weight: 211,210 pounds
Runway: 33
Rollout Distance: 7,922 feet
Rollout Time: 53 seconds
Revolution: 163
Mission Duration: 10 days, 19 hours, 58 minutes, 37 seconds
Orbit Altitude: 321 nautical miles
Orbit Inclination: 28.45 degrees
Miles Traveled: 4.4 million


Richard O. Covey, Commander
Kenneth D. Bowersox, Pilot
F. Story Musgrave, Payload Commander
Kathryn C. Thornton, Mission Specialist
Claude Nicollier, Mission Specialist
Jeffrey A. Hoffman, Mission Specialist
Tom Akers, Mission Specialist

Launch Highlights

Launch originally scheduled to occur from Launch Pad 39A, but after rollout, contamination was found in the Pad 39A Payload Changeout Room and a decision was made to move the shuttle and payloads to Pad 39B. Rollaround occurred on Nov. 15. The first launch attempt on Dec. 1 was scrubbed due to out-of-limit weather conditions at the Shuttle Landing Facility in the event of a return-to-launch-site contingency. Launch on Dec. 2 occurred on schedule.

Mission Highlights

The final shuttle flight of 1993 was one of most challenging and complex manned missions ever attempted. During a record five back-to-back space walks totaling 35 hours and 28 minutes, two teams of astronauts completed the first servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). In many instances, tasks were completed sooner than expected and a few contingencies that did arise were handled smoothly.

Hubble rendezvous, grapple and berthing occurred on flight day three, with Nicollier using the remote manipulator system arm to position the 43-foot (13-meter) long Hubble upright in payload bay. Throughout mission, commands to Hubble issued from Space Telescope Operations Control Center (STOCC) at Goddard Space Flight Center. After each servicing task completed, STOCC controllers verified electrical interfaces between replacement hardware and telescope.

On flight day four, first EVA team of Musgrave and Hoffman performed EVA #1, replacing two Rate Sensing Units (RSUs), each housing pair of gyroscopes; two Electronic Control Units which direct the RSUs; and eight electrical fuse plugs. Only unexpected problem occurred when Hoffman and Musgrave had difficulty closing compartment doors after replacing RSUs. Seven-hour, 54-minute space walk second longest in U.S. history to date, topped only by STS-49 EVA lasting eight hours, 29 minutes. During EVAs, Nicollier operated robot arm carrying one of two EVA crew members.

One of primary servicing goals — installation of new solar arrays — accomplished during EVA #2, performed on flight day five by Thornton and Akers and lasting six hours, 35 minutes. Timeline was re-worked to accommodate jettison of one of two original solar arrays, which could not be fully retracted due to kink in framework. Other solar array stowed in payload bay and replacement pair — set of modified spares — were installed without difficulty.

Expected four-hour replacement of one of Hubble’s five scientific instruments, Wide Field/Planetary Camera (WF/PC), completed in about 40 minutes by Hoffman and Musgrave during EVA #3 on flight day six. WF/PC II is upgraded spare modified to compensate for flaw in HST primary mirror. Also, two new magnetometers installed at top of telescope during the six-hour, 48-minute EVA.

EVA #4 performed on flight day seven by Thornton and Akers. High-Speed Photometer, one of Hubble scientific instruments, removed and replaced with Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement (COSTAR) unit. Task took less time to complete than expected. COSTAR designed to redirect light to three of four remaining Hubble instruments to compensate for flaw in primary mirror of telescope. Thornton and Akers also installed co-processor to enhance memory and speed of Hubble computer. During six-hour, 50- minute EVA, Akers set new U.S. space-walking record of 29 hours, 39 minutes, topping Eugene Cernan’s 20-year-old record of 24 hours, 14 minutes. Thornton is leading U.S. female space walker with total of 21 hours, 10 minutes.

Final EVA performed by Hoffman and Musgrave on flight day eight. During seven-hour, 21-minute-long EVA #5, Hoffman and Musgrave replaced Solar Array Drive Electronics (SADE) unit and installed Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph Redundancy (GHRS) kit; also installed two protective covers over original magnetometers. After space walk completed, the new solar arrays and two high-gain antennas were deployed by STOCC. HST was also re-boosted to a slightly higher orbit of 321 nautical miles (595 kilometers) on flight day eight prior to the last EVA.

Hubble was redeployed on flight day nine. Release was delayed several hours to allow troubleshooting of erratic data telemetry from Hubble subsystems monitor; problem had occurred before and was not related to servicing. President Clinton and Vice President Gore congratulated crew, and Swiss minister of internal affairs called the following day to congratulate Nicollier.

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