February 11, 2009

Astronauts Refine Their Skills For Hubble Mission

STS-125 astronauts John Grunsfeld and Andrew Feustel were at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center on February 10 supporting ongoing training efforts for Servicing Mission 4 to the Hubble Space Telescope.

Wearing high tech "Ëœbunny' suits, Grunsfeld and Feustel worked inside Goddard's large cleanroom performing three practice runs for the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) repair task. The astronauts used flight tools built by ATK of Beltsville, Md. and Goddard to practice the repair effort on the Hubble High-Fidelity Mechanical Simulator, a full-size and highly accurate mockup of the aft section of the telescope.

ACS suffered a power supply failure in January 2007, leaving two of its three cameras dark. Repairing ACS will involve extracting four electronics cards from the unit and replacing them with a self-contained card module and a new, external Low Voltage Power Supply Replacement. Since this type of on-orbit surgery has never been attempted on Hubble, the astronauts are doing everything they can to ensure the task goes as planned.


Image Caption: Astronaut John Grunsfeld practicing repair tasks for the Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard Hubble. Here he inserts a special Fastener Extraction Tool through the Fastener Capture Plate to loosen the 32 screws on the instrument's cover. The screws will need to be removed during Servicing Mission 4 in order to access and replace four electronics cards in the ACS.    Image Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn


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