Astronaut Mike Massimino in the foreground, with Mike Good on the end of the robotic arm, backdropped by the shuttle, Hubble, and Earth. Credit: NASA
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.
Astronauts work on Hubble during EVA #4. Credit: NASA
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.
Mike Good (on the RMS) and Mike Massimino during EVA #4. Credit: NASA
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.”
Mike Massimino looks in on Megan McArthur inside the shuttle. Credit: NASA
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.
John Grunsfeld is dwarfed by Hubble during the 5th EVA. Credit: NASA
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.
John Grunsfeld during EVA 5. Credit: NASA
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.
John Grunsfeld on EVA 5. Credit: NASA
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!
John Grunsfeld works on Hubble from the end of the RMS. Credit: NASA
More work during EVA 5.
Drew Feustel during EVA 5. Credit: NASA
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.
Sleeping in the shuttle. Credit: NASA
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.
Hubble floats in space after being released by the shuttle RMS. Credit: NASA
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. Credit: NASA
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!
By Nancy Atkinson
- Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today's Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT's Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.