Hubble Repair Mission Will Launch in May ’09

NASA announced Thursday that space shuttle Atlantis’ STS-125 mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope is targeted to launch May 12, 2009. The mission, which was previously scheduled for October of this year was delayed when a data handling unit on the telescope failed. Since then, engineers have been working to prepare a 1970’s era spare unit for flight. They expect to be able to ship the spare, known as the Science Instrument Command and Data Handling System, to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in spring 2009.

STS-125 is an 11-day flight featuring five spacewalks to extend Hubble’s life into the next decade by refurbishing and upgrading the telescope with state-of-the-art science instruments and swapping failed hardware. The crew consists of Scott Altman, commander; Greg Johnson, pilot; and mission specialists are veteran spacewalkers John Grunsfeld and Mike Massimino, and first-time space fliers Andrew Feustel, Michael Good and Megan McArthur.

The next space shuttle mission, STS-119, is scheduled for launch on Feb. 12, 2009, which will go to the International Space Station and bring up the S6 starboard truss segment and the final set of solar arrays. Another shuttle mission, STS-127 mission, is also targeted for launch in May 2009, but it’s possible that flight could slip. The Hubble mission will need another shuttle on standby for a rescue mission, should STS-125 encounter any problems (since its not going to the ISS, which would serve as a safe haven if a shuttle had any damage where it could not land safely).

Beyond that, STS-128 is targeted for August 2009, and STS-129 is targeted for November 2009. As always, all target launch dates are subject to change.

Source: NASA

9 Replies to “Hubble Repair Mission Will Launch in May ’09”

  1. Not many more chances to see a shuttle launch. I was in Florida last year for a launch, but it got delayed.

    The ISS zips through the night sky with a magnitude as bright as -2.4. I wonder how much brighter it will be after the final solar array is installed. It already outshines Jupiter.

  2. it must be fixed or it will degrade and tumble back to earth uncontrolled ,remember skylab? next time we may be not so lucky

  3. If we only had a space tether on the Moon — and technology here can do that now — we could tow Hubble to the Moon and take it down to the lunar surface safely, then put it into a shelter, maybe an underground habitat, as part of a museum where future generations can go to see and even touch the actual pioneering technology that made everything that came after possible. Hubble is a valiant, wonderful artifact that has done yeoman service to the world for a long, long time, and deserves something better than being vaporized in Earth’s atmosphere or making an unfortunate impact on Earth’s surface. :-/

  4. “If we only had a space tether on the Moon”

    A space tether to the moon wouldn’t be paramount to extending civilization to our closest neighbor.

    It could be built with “currently manufactured materials, ” but it would require hundreds of launches (Perhaps more) of the planned Aries V to accomplish that.

    Rocket powered lander will suffice to carry Hubble to a Lunar museum.

    Who knows, the Hubble space telescope may go out like a huge fiery comet, a shooting star. Everyone stops, points up and gasps “Oh look at that!” Then- whoosh, and it’s gone… and they won’t be able to forget Hubble- ever.”

  5. I’d love to see Hubble in the Smithsonian someday. I know that is not likely at all to happen, but just think of all the beautiful science it has given us.

    Go fix it, boys and girls, Make it good for another ten years.

  6. marcellus Says:
    December 6th, 2008 at 9:09 am

    “I’d love to see Hubble in the Smithsonian someday. I know that is not likely at all to happen, but just think of all the beautiful science it has given us.”

    My God yes. In the immortal words of Indiana Jones – “…it belongs in a museum!”

    That is, of course, after it’s finished with science, which it won’t be for some time to come I reckon.

  7. Hey, nice tips. Perhaps I’ll buy a bottle of beer to that person from that chat who told me to visit your site 🙂

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