Servicing Mission 4 Hardware Passes Pre-Ship Review
The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Program passed a significant milestone, the Pre-Ship Review (PSR), held July 14 at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The review demonstrated the Servicing Mission 4 flight hardware successfully passed all environmental and performance tests and is ready for shipment to the launch site for final processing prior to launch and mission operations.
According to Mike Kienlen, Deputy Project Manager for the HST Development Project, the PSR proves the project is on schedule and shows, “that we are ready to support the shipments of flight hardware and Government-supplied equipment to the launch site.” The first of several shipments left the Center during the early morning hours of July 14, destined for Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
SM4 flight hardware flying on the Space Shuttle Atlantis to Hubble includes:
- Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), a new camera that will study early and distant galaxies that are currently beyond Hubble’s reach, as well as galaxies in our cosmic neighborhood,
- Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS), a new spectroscope that will study the large-scale structure of the universe and how galaxies, stars, and planets formed and evolved,
- Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) repair hardware, which will allow astronauts to replace a low voltage power supply board containing a failed power converter,
- Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) repair hardware, which will allow the astronauts to remove the four failed boards that drive the Wide Field Channel detectors by going into a small panel outside of the instrument and replacing them with a new device that will perform the same function, but take power from an externally mounted box attached to the existing ACS power supply,
- A refurbished Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS), which, along with the gyroscopes, are part of Hubble’s pointing control system,
- New Outer Blanket Layers (NOBLs), which will provide additional thermal protection and increase operational margins,
- The Soft Capture Mechanism (SCM), which is designed to enable and assist in the safe end-of-life de-orbit of Hubble,
- Two Battery Module Assemblies (BMA), containing six nickel hydrogen batteries, which will provide electrical power to Hubble during its nighttime orbit,
- Rate Sensor Units (RSU), which are six gyroscopes packaged in pairs, that allow Hubble to point at starts, planets, and other celestial targets,
- Crew Aids and Tools (CATs), which will allow the astronauts to do all their assigned tasks on this mission,
- Flight Support System (FSS), which has flown on every Hubble mission, and was rebuilt for SM4,
- Orbital Replacement Unit Carrier (ORUC), which will hold the new COS science instrument, as well as the IMAX camera which will document the mission for a future film on Hubble,
- Super Lightweight Interchangeable Carrier (SLIC), the first totally composite carrier ever to fly in the manned space program that will hold the WFC3 and BMAs, and the
- Multi-Use Logistic Equipment (MULE) carrier, which will hold SM4 contingency hardware.
- The Bit Sync Assembly (BSA), which facilitates clean telemetry between HST and the Orbiter S-band communications system by processing the data stream through a digital bit synchronizer board,
- The Latch Over Center Kit (LOCK), which maximizes EVA time for Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) and Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) servicing by reducing the time required to open and close Hubble’s aft shroud doors,
- The Relative Navigation Sensor (RNS) System, which is a technology demonstration experiment that will obtain and store high resolution images of Hubble during SM4 capture and deploy. It will remain in the orbiter and return to Earth,
When astronauts complete all five planned EVAs, or spacewalks, for this mission, Hubble will be reborn.
“Servicing Mission 4 marks the apex of not only the scientific capabilities of Hubble, but the apex of NASA’s capabilities,” explained Preston Burch, Associate Director of the Astrophysics Projects Division and HST Program Manager, at Goddard. “In addition to making enormous gains in our understanding of the universe we live in, we have learned a lot in the areas of technology development, engineering, and management.”
Space Shuttle Atlantis is currently on track for an October 8 launch from Kennedy. Designated as STS-125, it will carry a crew of seven astronauts to the world’s most famous telescope for an 11-day mission that will give Hubble new eyes on the universe for many years to come.
For more information about Hubble and SM4, visit: