5 p.m. CDT Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STS-125 MCC Status Report #05
Using the space shuttle Atlantis’ robotic arm, Mission Specialist Megan McArthur grappled the Hubble Space Telescope at 12:14 p.m. CDT Wednesday as she and her crewmates orbited 340 miles above Western Australia.

The successful capture of the space observatory sets the stage for five spacewalks in as many days to repair and update instruments, extending its lifespan through 2014. The first spacewalk by Mission Specialists John Grunsfeld and Drew Feustel is set to begin at 7:16 a.m. Thursday.

STS-125 Commander Scott Altman guided Atlantis to within 50 feet of Hubble in preparation for the grapple, with help from Pilot Greg Johnson and Mission Specialist Mike Good. A planned maneuver to put Hubble in the right orientation for capture was cancelled due to communications problems, so Altman flew the shuttle into position, which delayed grapple about 20 minutes.

With grapple complete, McArthur maneuvered the telescope onto a Flight Support System maintenance platform in Atlantis’ payload bay. The platform can rotate 360 degrees and tilt to provide better access for spacewalkers, and provides power for thermal control while the telescope is being serviced.

The crew began a visual survey of the telescope at 1:56 p.m. and completed electrical connections and activation at 1:58 p.m. The telescope’s solar arrays were positioned for servicing by ground command at 4:07 p.m.

Grunsfeld and Feustel conducted a final review of plans for the first spacewalk with the help of fellow spacewalkers Good and Mike Massimino, and the rest of the crew. They also checked out all of the tools necessary for the mission’s spacewalks.

Mission managers declared Atlantis’ thermal protection tiles safe for reentry, but continue to examine the imagery from Tuesday’s inspection of the reinforced carbon carbon on the shuttle’s nose cap and wing leading edges.

The STS-125 crew will begin its sleep period at 7:31 p.m. and awaken at 3:31 a.m. Thursday. The next shuttle status report will be issued after crew wake-up, or earlier, if events warrant.

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