Astronauts Release Hubble — Watch the Video

Article written: 19 May , 2009
Updated: 19 May , 2009
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After five spacewalks on consecutive days to bring new life to the Hubble Space Telescope, astronauts on space shuttle Atlantis said goodbye to the venerable observatory, releasing it back to its orbital home. Watching it float out of the cargo bay was a bittersweet moment for everyone involved with the mission, and space enthusiasts, too, as even though Hubble is in great shape and now set to look out farther than ever before, this is that last time humans will visit, touch and care for the world’s most famous telescope. “It’s a sad moment but a great moment, because we put the Hubble in the best posture and and best performance in can be in,” said Jon Morse, NASA Astrophysics division director.

Using the shuttle’s robot arm, astronaut Megan McArthur gently lifted Hubble from the servicing platform in Atlantis’ payload bay where it had been positioned since last week Wednesday. The video is unique in that we get to hear all the action from the flight deck during Hubble’s release — almost as good as being there!

The astronauts conducted five spacewalks — two of them marathon sessions — spending more than 36 hours to upgrade and outfit Hubble with new instruments, including a new Wide Field Planetary Camera that should be able to see objects formed just 500 million years after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago.

The Atlantis crew completed everything NASA had planned, including the unprecedented repair of science instruments not designed to be worked on in space.

It was a mission for the ages.


9 Responses

  1. GekkoNZ says

    What incredible views out the windows of the shuttle. It really shows how cool a job those astronauts have…

  2. Dave Finton says

    As I was watching that video, a thought popped into my heading: “What the heck, are they orbiting Mars?” Then I realized they were over a Terran desert. This comment has nothing to do with this momentous occasion for th Hubble and the scientific community alike. I just thought it was a funny thought I had. =)

    Bravo, Shuttle Atlantis!

  3. Kevin F. says

    What on earth is floating to the upper right at 5:07? Is that the shuttle arm coming into the shit?

  4. Kevin F. says

    SHOT! I MEAN SHOT! Sorry!

  5. Member
    IVAN3MAN says

    @ Kevin F.

    We could do with a preview/edit facility here like they now have at Bad Astronomy. πŸ™‚

  6. Kevin F. I’m laughing so hard, I can’t bring myself to delete the comment!
    Nancy

  7. Kevin F. says

    My son was climbing onto my lap as I typed and hit post. It was one of those times when you spot a spelling error as the browser is chugging doing the posting. πŸ™‚

  8. Jon Hanford says

    What an awesome parting view of Hubble as seen by the Atlantis crew. Now the refurbished Hubble is ready take on new tasks that will help us understand the universe we inhabit.

  9. F.P. Benis says

    Does the dude in the beginning of the video have glasses on? I was always under the impression that you had to have perfect vision to be an astronaut and gave up on that dream when I was far too young.

    Dang.

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