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In our last installment of images from the STS-125 mission, we left off with third EVA of the mission. Since then, as I’m sure you know, the astronauts have completed two more EVAs, released Hubble and are waiting for the weather to improve in Florida so they can land. So, let’s get caught up with the latest images released by NASA. I love the image above, as it has everything in it about the mission: two spacewalking astronauts from EVA #4 (Mike Massimino and Mike Good), the shuttle Atlantis, Hubble, and a beautiful view of Earth.
During the eight-hour, two-minute spacewalk, Massimino and Good worked on repairing the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS). To get started with this repair, Massimino had to rip off a handrail (the bolt wouldn’t come loose) in order to access the instrument.
To repair the electronics on STIS, Massimino has to take out the old electronics card, which had 111 small screws. To do this, and to make sure none of the small screws floated away, engineers devised a “fastener capture plate” which kept the screws inside. To learn more about the different tools the astronauts used for the Hubble repair, see our article, “Super Tools Essential to Hubble Mission Success.”
Much of the success of the five EVAs had to do with having the robotic arm carry the astronauts around and position them perfectly for working on Hubble. Megan McArthur spent most of the mission operating the shuttle Remote Manipulator System (RMS) or robotic arm, and did an outstanding job.
The school bus-sized Hubble really is a big spacecraft, evident here in this image from EVA #5, where John Grunsfeld is dwarfed by the observatory.
During the seven-hour and two-minute spacewalk, Grunsfeld and Drew Feustel installed a battery group replacement, removed and replaced a Fine Guidance Sensor and three thermal blankets (NOBL) protecting Hubble’s electronics.
Hang on John! Grunsfeld holds on to the end of the robotic arm, and he’s also tethered to the arm, but still, that has to be an amazing feeling to be dangling in space 300 miles above Earth and just holding on with one hand!
More work during EVA 5.
When all the old instruments and parts were removed from Hubble, the astronauts had to carefully stow the pieces in the shuttle’s payload bay, making sure the are securely fastened for the trip back home.
Ever wonder how you sleep in space? Here Massimino, Good and McArthur use the sleeping bags that attach to the walls of the shuttle with Velcro. Some astronauts sleep with their arms out of the bag, which means they float, others tuck their arms in because the floating arms thing is just a little strange. After all the hard work of the EVAs, the astronauts needed, and deserved, a good rest.
After a successful repair mission, the astronauts said goodbye to Hubble and sent it one its way to make new observations with its new and upgraded instruments.
The crew of STS-125 includes Scott Altman (center), commander; Gregory C. Johnson, pilot; and Megan McArthur, mission specialist. Pictured on the back row (left to right) are astronauts Andrew Feustel, John Grunsfeld, Mike Massimino and Michael Good, all mission specialists. We hope to bring you images of Atlantis’s successful landing soon!