Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Challenges Ahead In Final Hubble Servicing Mission

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the good-luck-up-there-guys dept.

NASA 130

Hugh Pickens writes "Space shuttle Atlantis is slated to lift off Monday on the fifth and final servicing mission to Hubble with four mission specialists alternating in two-astronaut teams will attempt a total of five spacewalks from Atlantis to replace broken components, add new science instruments, and swap out the telescope's six 125-pound (57-kilogram) batteries, original parts that have powered Hubble's night-side operations for nearly two decades. 'This is our final opportunity to service and upgrade Hubble,' says David Leckrone, senior project scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope. 'So we're replacing some items that are getting long in the tooth to give Hubble longevity, and then we'll try to take advantage of that five- to 10-year extra lifetime with the most powerful instrumental tools we've ever had on board.' Some of the upgrades are relatively straightforward and modular: yank out old part, put in new. But they're big parts: The 'fine guidance sensors' sound delicate but weigh as much as a grand piano back on Earth. But what's different this time is that the astronauts will also open up some instruments and root around inside, doing Geek Squad-like repairs while wearing bulky spacesuits and traveling around the planet at 17,000 mph. 'We have this choreographed almost down to the minute of what we want the crew to do. It's this really fine ballet,' said Keith Walyus, the servicing mission operations manager at Goddard. 'We've been training for this for seven years. We can't wait for this to happen.'"

cancel ×

130 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Uh Oh (5, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905077)

This all sounded good until they said they would be doing "Geek Squad style repairs". Does this mean they will recommend the Norton Anti-virus suite be installed and send a $500 bill?

Re:Uh Oh (5, Funny)

GrifterCC (673360) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905109)

And steal Hubble's pr0n!

Re:Uh Oh (5, Funny)

amazeofdeath (1102843) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905141)

Maybe Hubble's registry has been clogged up, and a fresh OS installation is needed.

Re:Uh Oh (0)

tech_fixer (1541657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905383)

Or it may have experienced a Kernel Panic when a faulty driver tried to KILL init.

Re:Uh Oh (4, Funny)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905189)

They're actually going to use pirated navigation software... and charge you full price!

Re:Uh Oh (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905341)

These are all pretty funny, but this one of the funniest.

Re:Uh Oh (1)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905563)

I'd love to take credit for it... but really the Geek Squad isn't making it too hard to come up with decent material...

Re:Uh Oh (0)

RazzleDazzle (442937) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905213)

Hopefully Atlantis isn't this vehicle [wikimedia.org] or else I might not be able to resist any longer the urge to knock these people off the road.

Re:Uh Oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27906111)

FYI, none of us recommend Norton....EVER. I practically beg people not to buy it or McAfee. Next time you bash me or my fellow agents, please know what the fuck you are talking about. Do we make mistakes? Yes, even the experienced agents. But, being the only agent at my store that actually has PC repair experience, it's not my damn fault that they keep hiring no-nothings forcing me to do all the work. Anyone would get worn down and make an error in that situation, particularly when I was working two jobs and working 14 hour days 3 and 4 days a week. So kiss my ass, if you are so much better, come take my job.

Re:Uh Oh (0, Troll)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | more than 5 years ago | (#27906911)

So what, we're supposed to suddenly supposed to treat the geek squad as a talented group of well meaning computer experts rather then the talentless, lying, salesmen shills that they are becasue a few good people get lumped in with the rest of the crap? Tough fucking shit buddy, you work for a crappy company which employs crappy people and I'm not sorry at all that you get lumped in with the rest of them. Furthermore judging by your choice of wording and how forcibly you tried to defend yourself I'm bettign that you aren't nearly the hot shit that you think you are and really are deserving of all the connotations that comes with the dorky yellow shirt that you wear. I used to work as an installer in a Canadian Tire garage and in case you don't happen to live in Canada, Canadian Tire is the Best Buy of the automotive world and you know what I did good work and so did most of the other mechanics in the garage, we didn't even have the cavalier attitude towards mistakes that you seem to have. Unfortunately our garage was the exception to the norm where most Canadian Tire garages did very poor work and I had absolutely no fantasies about the very well deserved image the rest of Canada had of our garages and I knew exactly what to expect when I said that I worked for Canadian Tire. In short get off that high horse you seem to have gotten yourself on and take an honest look at yourself and the company you work for.

Re:Uh Oh (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#27907005)

Did you ever think that maybe there is a REASON why they have to hire "no-nothings" for Worst Buy? Maybe because it is a shitty McJob? If you want to work repair get a job at a Mom&Pop. There is one in every town. The hours are better, you can wear what you want, hell I sat in the back smoking while I worked. No crappy hours or crappy clothes required. That is why you were being worked into the ground dude. It is because anybody with any experience avoided Worst Buy like the clap. Too much like working at McDonald's. That is why they came up with that whole "agent" crap, hoping that a cool title would make up for the lousy hours and crappy pay. No thanks.

Re:Uh Oh (2, Funny)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#27907345)

Maybe they were hoping that they could meet a hot CIA agent while working at Geek Squad.

Re:Uh Oh (3, Interesting)

alc6379 (832389) | more than 5 years ago | (#27908269)

hell I sat in the back smoking while I worked.

Dude if my computer came back smelling like smoke, I'd be asking for a refund, as well as a replacement of every component that smelled like smoke.

Not that I would need to take any of my machines to a repair shop, but if I did, I'd take it to Geek Squad before I would take it into a place that reeked of smoke in the back room.

Totally willing to be modded off-topic here-- my karma can stand the hit.

Re:Uh Oh (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#27908861)

Go right ahead, then you would be bring it back to me to fix what they fucked up. Here is just a small list of what I have found when opening up a box that Geek Squad "fixed"- Floppy plugged in backwards, HDDs jammed into the drive case so hard it bent the case, broken RAM slots where they literally yanked the RAM out without bothering to release the pins, a "new" DVD ROM that was brown on the case from age and had something rattling around in it, a PC that left with 512MB and came back with 128MB, a 400Gb HDD that magically became an 80GB, an expensive Geforce that magically became a shitty old Geforce MX 4000.

And that is just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. Of course if you take it back and complain they will claim it "wasn't them" or that is how it came in. But you go right ahead and avoid the shop where the minimum repair experience is over a decade for the McDonald's worker. But don't be surprised when you find out why we guys in the repair biz call Worst Buy "A REALLY expensive way to throw away your computer".

Typo in NAV (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 5 years ago | (#27907025)

As a spelling Nazi, it's spelled "Norton AntiVirus" -- http://www.symantec.com/norton/antivirus [symantec.com] ... :P

Re:Typo in NAV (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#27907375)

My attitude on companies who insist on weird capitalizations in their name is "fuck them". Same for E*Trade.

Re:Typo in NAV (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 5 years ago | (#27907537)

Then, fsck your "mylongnickname". :P

Re:Typo in NAV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27908839)

ROFL :)

butter fingers (1, Insightful)

jaggeh (1485669) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905101)

Lets hope they have a secure hold of their toolbags this time.

17,000 mph sounds like it's fast (3, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905131)

When you drive on the highway, if you are going 85mph passing a car going 80mph, you only really experience a 5mph velocity differential with that car. Given that both of you are traveling at similar speeds, maneuvering around each other should be relatively simple as you only have to gauge the distances with regard to the 5mph differential and not the 80mph absolute velocity.

So 17,000mph may sound fast, but given that the satellite itself is traveling the same speed, the astronauts don't really have to think about that.

Re:17,000 mph sounds like it's fast (4, Informative)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905199)

When you drive on the highway, if you are going 85mph passing a car going 80mph, you only really experience a 5mph velocity differential with that car. Given that both of you are traveling at similar speeds, maneuvering around each other should be relatively simple as you only have to gauge the distances with regard to the 5mph differential and not the 80mph absolute velocity.

Sure. But then, I rarely repair my car while driving down the road at 85 MPH, although you are pointing out that I could.

Re:17,000 mph sounds like it's fast (2, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905231)

Do you not change the radio while driving?

Re:17,000 mph sounds like it's fast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27905309)

Your bad analogy is more like this [youtube.com] (skip to 3.30).

Re:17,000 mph sounds like it's fast (3, Interesting)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905545)

This is more like changing the car battery.. while driving.

Re:17,000 mph sounds like it's fast (5, Insightful)

Aqualung812 (959532) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905749)

No this it like changing the car battery while it is on a flatbed truck that someone else is driving, but with BIG EFFING GLOVES on.

Re:17,000 mph sounds like it's fast (1)

codegen (103601) | more than 5 years ago | (#27906001)

More like changing the car battery while it is inside a transport truck but with big gloves on.

Re:17,000 mph sounds like it's fast (1)

rufty_tufty (888596) | more than 5 years ago | (#27907893)

So actually quite straightforwards then?

If that's true then all these impossibly difficult things that NASA keeps talking up suddenly seem even more suspect

Re:17,000 mph sounds like it's fast (1)

PlatinumRiver (846268) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905993)

Do you not change the radio while driving?

I change the "stations" ON the radio. I don't actually change the radio itself, which is more what these guys are doing.

Re:17,000 mph sounds like it's fast (1)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 5 years ago | (#27907799)

radios today are pretty straight forward to replace. 2 shills on the sides, pull it off, unplug the (standard) cables, plug the new one, slide it into the dash.

easy for the passenger to do while someone else is driving. remember, atlantis has a crew of 7. a couple of guys will be flying the ship, the spacewalkers will have to worry only about the repairs.

Re:17,000 mph sounds like it's fast (3, Insightful)

necro81 (917438) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905295)

Thankfully, it's not like anyone will need to actively "drive" the shuttle while at the same time repairing the Hubble. There's some station-keeping to do, and the craft's overall health to monitor, but a lot of that can be done by autopilot. There's also about a hundred people at mission control that are doing nothing but driving and checking the shuttle, so the astronauts and do their job.

Re:17,000 mph sounds like it's fast (1)

IcePop456 (575711) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905503)

It is more like getting something out of the glove box while driving around. There's no wind out in space...oh and there's no one else on the road so you don't really have to "drive".

Re:17,000 mph sounds like it's fast (4, Funny)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27906287)

That is, assuming you carry things with the mass of a piano in your glove box, and wear a space suit while driving.

Re:17,000 mph sounds like it's fast (1)

EkriirkE (1075937) | more than 5 years ago | (#27908887)

Don't forget your diapers.

Re:17,000 mph sounds like it's fast (2, Funny)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905633)

No, he's pointing out that you could repair someone else's car while driving down the road at 85 mph.

Re:17,000 mph sounds like it's fast (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#27906081)

Trivially easy if you can run beside your car at 85mph, Steve Austin.
Be careful opening the hood/bonnet at those speeds though...

Re:17,000 mph sounds like it's fast (1)

GreenTech11 (1471589) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905225)

So 17,000mph may sound fast, but given that the satellite itself is traveling the same speed, the astronauts don't really have to think about that.

But 17 000mph sounds SO cool!

Anyone know how much this mission is costing? I think it is great, but I really like big numbers....

Re:17,000 mph sounds like it's fast (5, Insightful)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905289)

So 17,000mph may sound fast, but given that the satellite itself is traveling the same speed, the astronauts don't really have to think about that.

Of course, there could be debris also moving at 17,000mph... in the opposite direction. Traveling at 34,000mph (relative), even a paint chip can do some serious damage to delicate electronics or the relatively soft astronaut.

Here's hoping everyone stays safe up there.

Re:17,000 mph sounds like it's fast (3, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27906369)

Of course, there could be debris also moving at 17,000mph... in the opposite direction.

No.

That would require a retrograde orbit, which noone uses.

Of course, if Hubble were in a polar orbit, this could happen. But it's not, so it won't.

Re:17,000 mph sounds like it's fast (5, Interesting)

icebrain (944107) | more than 5 years ago | (#27908053)

Actually, there are a few satellites in retrograde orbits. Some are nearly polar (sun-synchronous orbits, for example), but others are truly retrograde. I believe Israel does it (even despite the disadvantage of fighting earth's rotation by launching west) because that's the only way they can launch their own stuff without overflying populated areas and/or pissing off unfriendly neighbors.

Re:17,000 mph sounds like it's fast (1)

mdielmann (514750) | more than 5 years ago | (#27906539)

So 17,000mph may sound fast, but given that the satellite itself is traveling the same speed, the astronauts don't really have to think about that.

Of course, there could be debris also moving at 17,000mph... in the opposite direction. Traveling at 34,000mph (relative), even a paint chip can do some serious damage to delicate electronics or the relatively soft astronaut.

Here's hoping everyone stays safe up there.

Pfft, whatever. It's like getting hit by an invisible bus. Not much you can do to avoid it, and it will suck if it happens, but it's not like it's a distraction unless you get unlucky. The far bigger issues (so far as mission success) are the clunky outfits, the massive objects they have to handle, and the fact that there's no easy place to put something down for a second. So stop falling for the big-number hype, and realize that this is not much more dangerous than any other EVA - and none of that extra danger comes from their orbital velocity.

Re:17,000 mph sounds like it's fast (2, Interesting)

node159 (636992) | more than 5 years ago | (#27907665)

Going by the mortality rate (I think its like 4%) being an astronaut is more dangerous than being a solider on active deployment at the moment.

No guts, no glory I say :).

Actually it's 370 km/s towards Virgo (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905417)

If you want to quote big speeds against something, that should be something *near* you, something that runs the risk of crashing. 17000 mph against the earth that's hundreds of miles away is totally meaningless.

Now, if you want to quote some "absolute" velocity, then the only reference that can be considered valid, according to Mach's principle [wikipedia.org] would be against the "fixed distant stars", which means cosmic microwave background [swin.edu.au] .

Then we can say we are all moving at 370 km/s towards the Virgo constellation (note the link says the whole Milky Way galaxy is moving at 600 km/s towards Centaurus but we have to subtract the speed of the earth relative to the galaxy as a whole. Longer explanation here [duke.edu] ).

Re:Actually it's 370 km/s towards Virgo (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27906167)

From the link you sent

If we were somehow able to see ONLY this dipole contribution [...] by removing the average brightness (or temperature) from the preceding diagram and amplify the contrast by approximately a thousand, the sky now looks like the figure at the right.

Did they not realize that this is the Taoist symbol of yin and yang? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:TaoismSymbol.PNG [wikipedia.org]

And since the Taoist believe in universal evolution, I guess the creationists can finally admit they are wrong.

Re:Actually it's 370 km/s towards Virgo (1)

radtea (464814) | more than 5 years ago | (#27906617)

Did they not realize that this is the Taoist symbol of yin and yang?

I hear there's a face on Mars, too, and a picture of Jesus on a fish stick, and quite a few other natural accidents that look a lot like things people have a big emotional investment in if you squint hard and click your heals together at exactly the same time.

The really curious thing is how ancient Taoists knew about dipole moments. I've studied the tao te ching pretty carefully and don't recall seeing a single spherical harmonic, Legendre polynomial, or anything similar.

In any case, I'm pretty sure if you subtract out the dipole and look carefully at the higher moments you'll find a pattern that looks suspiciously... noodly.

That's nothing (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905427)

The Earth is zipping around the sun at something like 66,000 mph (unless I screwed up my calcs). It's all I can do to hang on...

Re:That's nothing (3, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905967)

Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
That's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned,
A sun that is the source of all our power.
The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
Of the galaxy we call the 'Milky Way'.
Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
It's a hundred thousand light years side to side.
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick,
But out by us, it's just three thousand light years wide.
We're thirty thousand light years from galactic central point.
We go 'round every two hundred million years,
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.

Re:That's nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27907581)

Wow, you quoted Monty Python verbatim. And you chose one of their songs that has no humor content. Kudos!

Re:17,000 mph sounds like it's fast (1)

sam0737 (648914) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905671)

On the other hand, I am walking, sitting, eating, and coding on a ground that's actually spinning at 229km/h everyday. (Assuming I am at 30 degree North)

No, you don't (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27906419)

it is the toolbag, nuts, insulation, and even paint coming in the OPPOSITE direction that you think about. Of course, not much to worry about. If it hits you at 34000 mph in the core or helmet, I doubt that you would even know it.

Re:No, you don't (1)

Binestar (28861) | more than 5 years ago | (#27907461)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_satellites_in_retrograde_orbit [wikipedia.org]

Essentially, there is very little in orbit going the wrong way because it's more expensive and energy intensive to do it that way. The chances of a 34,000MPH collission are extremely low.

Re:No, you don't (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27907641)

You are talking about LAUNCHING a sat in retrograde. I am talking about parts coming off other launches, explosions, detonations, etc.

Re:No, you don't (1)

Binestar (28861) | more than 5 years ago | (#27907929)

Going from 17,000MPH around the earth in one direction to 17,000MPH around the earth in the other direction requires that you give a 34,000MPH speed change. Good luck having that happen with a part coming off, an explosion or a detonation. 34,000MPH is in the realm of speeds that are achieved with gravitational slingshots. You don't change your orbit direction with a gravitational slingshot, although I suppose it's possible you could slingshot from around the moon into a reverse orbit around the earth. You'll have to have someone else do the math though.

Re:No, you don't (1)

icebrain (944107) | more than 5 years ago | (#27908191)

And what we're telling you is that no mere explosion or part off a launch is magically going to wind up in a retrograde orbit. It just can't happen. An explosion (or even a significant collision) isn't going to impart a 14km/sec delta-V.

hoppe no blue screen (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27905235)

I was just watching NASA TV, they do the payload assembly.

Almost at END. AFTER a BIG white "IMAX 3D" box. they put a BIG BLACK BOX with a low profile ( JUST GRAY) "MICROSOFT" LOGO ( the cam stop for some seconds showing this, how much they pay for this? ).
What? Hubble will be powered by windows VISTA?
What a HELL? wait more a time. They already spend money to run vista in Hubble. Just use the windows 7 then. At last will have a XP virtualized to run the OLD stufs ( or to save and do run what will not run in standarts).
This is obvious they are spending A LOT OF MONEY doing this and not do it last mission try.
They WAIT the windows VISTA RELEASE. Then figure OUT that the hardware was not enough to RUN. THEN they BUILD a CAR SIZE computer to FIT the new SO. kidding

REALLY. WINDOWS in a mission critical?

Just the logo there can fuck up everything.

DAMN.

Foreshadowing (3, Funny)

Agent00Wang (146185) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905267)

'We've been training for this for seven years. We can't wait for this to happen.'

Cue heartbreak and disaster.

Re:Foreshadowing (5, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905729)

I think you have misread the title. It reads "Challenges Ahead...", not "Challenger Ahead...".

Re:Foreshadowing (1)

patch0 (1339585) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905903)

ouch

Re:Foreshadowing (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27908011)

'We've been training for this for seven years. We can't wait for this to happen.'

Cue heartbreak and disaster.

Really, is he trying to sabotage the mission? That's like an astronaut saying:

"It's my last mission before retirement. Here's a picture of my wife, and here's the cabin on a lake we just bought to live out our golden years. She can't wait until I get back so we can move in."

I mean you might as well shoot him on the spot once he's said that.

Best of Luck guys (3, Insightful)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905317)

This is a heck of an undertaking and I wish the crew all the luck in the world. If something doesn't work or doesn't quite fit it will be interesting to see if NASA has planned workarounds or lets the astronauts engineer on the spot solutions. Duct tape, baling wire and chewing gum have been fully supplied on the STS :) It will be nice to see instrument (WFC3 and COS) upgrades I worked on in 2001-02 finally get installed. I'm not too sure about the 10yrs extra life claim, as some of these upgrades have already been around 5 or more yrs in the powered off state and stored in an inert environment and over time electronics degrade regardless. Last time any of the were powered up was Thermal Test in 2004 so I hope they have done a Power On Self Test before they stashed them on board the STS. I have no idea where this 10 more years of service comes from, as NASA's web site for the mission says "warranty good till 2013" maybe longer. Perhaps this is based on the prior performance of items which far exceeded expectations (See we CAN build good stuff in the USA..just not cheap!) Battery technology has come a long way since the last update so the new batteries should have great power to weight ratio. The upgraded detectors should provide better data gathering but the technology isn't cutting edge as the WFC3 is 2K x 4K (8M) pixels in UV and 1K x1K i(1M) in IR. HST does not operate in the visible light range and images you see are colorized from data gathered from several instruments. Still pretty good data gathering capability and maybe the best we get for a long time as NASA is in such disarry right now who knows if JWST will get up by 2013 as planned.

Did you mean "not JUST the visible light range"? (4, Informative)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 5 years ago | (#27906667)

HST does not operate in the visible light range and images you see are colorized from data gathered from several instruments.

How's that again? I'm seeing that it handles wavelengths from 110nm (hard UV) to 1100nm, or maybe 2300nm, or maybe deeper IR than that. Visible (400-700nm) is smack in the middle of that range, and well-covered by the instrumentation.

Re:Best of Luck guys (1)

decsnake (6658) | more than 5 years ago | (#27907137)

WFC3 went thru a full thermal vac test last summer, right before SDO went into the SES.

Re:Best of Luck guys (3, Informative)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 5 years ago | (#27908329)

"or lets the astronauts engineer on the spot solutions."

Like the first time they serviced it, and couldn't get the damn doors closed without using a come-along strap.

(Yes, this happened)

Ping pong balls on your finger tips (5, Insightful)

kulakovich (580584) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905321)

Sure it sounds like an easy swap, but imagine trying to do something like changing dipswitches and installing a PCIe card with ping pong balls on your finger tips - even with big clunky milspec connectors, everything you twist tries to twist you, everything you pull tries to pull you. Arduous work at best, and they are doing five 6 hour sessions. Amazing, truly. I hope they have Story Musgrave available for commentary, the man is a national hero in my opinion.

~kulakovich

Re:Ping pong balls on your finger tips (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27905371)

I wish you could give a story (not a comment) +1 epic undertaking

Send Bartowsky, he 'knows' kung fu now! (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#27906409)

I'm glad to see someone here that 'gets it'.
One thing everyone seems to gloss over is the fact that you and what you are working on are both 'falling around the earth' at 17,00 mph. It's not like having it on the ground in a garage.
Your body and mind constantly battling each other over what 'up and down' really are; mass is still mass, so those 'heavy' pieces still take effort to move in-out of position, etc.

We've already seen that you can't just set your toolbag down on the workbench for one thing...

I want to go! (1)

NetNinja (469346) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905353)

Talk about an excitng job! I want to go also! I will carry the tool box :)

Seriously. :)

Re:I want to go! (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 5 years ago | (#27909189)

Welcome to NASA! We're glad to have you on our crew! :)

Now let's get you measured for your spacesuit. You'll be the first to get a red one! :)

Why not build another one ... (3, Insightful)

Jumperalex (185007) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905379)

I'm curious, can anyone tell me why a good, cheap, quick solution to replacing the current Hubble isn't to take that same design + upgrades that are even too complicated to accomplish in space, and launch it? I mean sure it might not be as spiffy as a completely new blank-sheet design but I have to believe it wouldn't cost that much more money, if at all, than a shuttle launch + a shuttle on standbye as a life boat. I mean what am I missing that makes building Hubble-2 a bad option compared to a risky/costly repair mission? It can't take that long to build another.

Re:Why not build another one ... (3, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905693)

can anyone tell me why a good, cheap, quick solution to replacing the current Hubble isn't to take that same design + upgrades that are even too complicated to accomplish in space, and launch it?

You're absolutely right and, ironically, it would cost less to launch it with a non-reusable rocket like the Ariane 5. Unfortunately, real life doesn't work like that.

The problems is with that "upgrades" thingie. They would never get a team of experts to agree on a sensible list of upgrades and launch that. There would always be one more thing, one more feature and the final cost would be, well, "astronomical" is the only word that comes to my mind.

Nasa's problem is that they have to be innovative, it's their mission. They can never let good enough alone. If they had just kept making small improvements to their systems, maybe we would have all the space colonies Popular Mechanics predicted fifty years ago by now.

Re:Why not build another one ... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#27906695)

Yes.
It is all custom parts it would take years to build a new one so yes it can take that long to build a new one. By that time the Hubble replacement will be ready to launch and the current Hubble will long since be dead. Also it would take a good % of what the Hubble replacement will cost and will not be as good.

Re:Why not build another one ... (1)

Jumperalex (185007) | more than 5 years ago | (#27908981)

custom parts sure, ok, I get that. But, but, but ... there still has to be savings in time and cost to not having to come up with a completely new design, isn't there? I mean take all the time and money spent to spec and design the replacement parts (which are also custom themselves I'm sure), and then to figure out how to do it in space and train the astronauts etc etc etc and instead spend the time and money to spec and design Hubble 2 and launch it with an unmanned. [shrug]

And for that matter, just how far along is the current replacement?

I will say this though, I find it amusing that there is all this concern about not having anything up there for some given time frame. I mean yes I know it would leave a lot of people without new data for some time (not that there isn't enough old data to plow through) but let's put this in a cosmic perpective: 1 year, 2, 5, 10 ... is not even a drop in the bucket of time. Somehow I doubt we're going to miss some fleeting once in a universe's-lifetime event that would give us the answer to everything. But I do think it would be a shame not to have something out there collecting the type of data Hubble and its successor collect.

Re:Why not build another one ... (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 5 years ago | (#27906757)

You cannot just rebuild the Hubble because many of the original contractors are out of business. You would have to rebuild the space telescope from scratch, which involves validating all of the changes you made. Putting it all together along with logistical support costs a few billion dollars. For a frame of reference, Hubble cost $2.5 by 1992.

Re:Why not build another one ... (1)

rgarbacz (1450155) | more than 5 years ago | (#27907903)

As far as I know one of the goals is to attach a deorbit module to Hubble, which is needed to safely end its life, so there has to be this mission anyway. Non of the other existing spacecrafts can perform this task. There were plans to send a robot, but finally they made a bold decision to send humans and repair/improve the telescope besides just solving the problem of a safe deorbitation. And I am thankful for that, the HST served not only the scientific community, but had a great influence in popularizing science as well. The only said thing is that it is too expensive to take it down to a museum, or to send it to a more stable orbit in case in the future the technology is cheap enough to put it in a museum.

The followers of Hubble are scheduled, and lets hope we will see images they will take soon.
Besides the JWST there is also the Harschel Space Observatory scheduled to be launch coming days (May 14). It is an infrared telescope with a mirror larger than Hubble.
I hope everything will be OK with all the space observatories. Those in orbit, and those coming. Their scientific value is astonishing.

Re:Why not build another one ... (2, Informative)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27909033)

As far as I know one of the goals is to attach a deorbit module to Hubble, which is needed to safely end its life, so there has to be this mission anyway.

Actually they are not attaching a full deorbit module, but a docking interface that can be used in the future for a deorbit module to grapple onto.

I hear that they're rebooting Hubble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27905399)

Apparently, an angry astronomer will travel back in time and prevent Challenger from exploding. This will completely alter Americans' attitudes towards space, and set in motion a different chain of events. Somehow Hubble Prime will be able to travel back in time, too, but too late to prevent the changes.

Last (1)

DinZy (513280) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905401)

Just curious. How do they know this is the last mission to Hubble. The telescope was supposed to be set out to pasture before and recently got this reprieve. Even if we eventually have a bigger and better space telescope, Hubble is still a valuable instrument.

Re:Last (4, Insightful)

JamesP (688957) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905681)

Because there won't be much more Space Shuttle missions, it's being retired, and none of the future vehicles can do this kind of visit.

Yes, Orion can dock with the ISS but that's "much easier" than going after Hubble

this 1s 6oatsex (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27905613)

will recall that it ppor priorities, pro-homosexual Preferrably with an when done playing lube. This can lead this mistake or unless you can work

Geek Squad... (2, Funny)

kannibul (534777) | more than 5 years ago | (#27905735)

So, you mean they'll copy off all the space-porn to a central repository and do nothing?

Attach it to the ISS? (2, Interesting)

sherriw (794536) | more than 5 years ago | (#27906215)

I don't understand why they don't grab Hubble and attach it to the International Space Station? It seems a waste to eventually let a great piece of equipment, into which so much money has been invested, to eventually just drift off into space/crash to earth. Servicing it would be much easier if it was attached to the ISS and we could continue getting stunning images, which I think goes a long way to creating interest in astronomy.

Re:Attach it to the ISS? (4, Interesting)

ogre7299 (229737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27906687)

Sounds nice but it would not work for a few reason.

1. The orbits are very different, Hubble is higher and at a different inclination.

2. The sharp images need excellent stability of the spacecraft. Hubble's resolution of 0.1" is the equivalent to spotting a dime 40 miles away. Astronauts and all the equipment running on the ISS would cause lots ot stability problems for sharp imaging.

Re:Attach it to the ISS? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27906705)

A nice thought but unfortunately it would be impossible to prevent vibrations from the ISS blurring every image, no matter how well damped the tether/mount. I do not know but suspect that the ISS is in a lower orbit.

If they had a Federation style Tractor Beam they could use once a month to keep it localised, that might be a different matter ;-)

Re:Attach it to the ISS? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#27906787)

1. It is in a very different orbit. You just can't call AAA and tow it to the ISS. The shuttle doesn't have the capability to do. No current system has the ability to do it. We would have to build a space tug.
2. The orbit the ISS is in isn't as good as the one the Hubble is in for doing Astronomy.
3. You don't want to attach the Hubble to anything since even the motion of people moving around will throw off it's aim.
4. You don't want all the stuff that comes off and out of the ISS near Hubble. Like the exhaust from it's thrusters.

Re:Attach it to the ISS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27908081)

The shuttle could do it the way Hubble was deployed initially, bring it down and launch again to ISS's orbit.

Re:Attach it to the ISS? (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 5 years ago | (#27908409)

That "bring it down" part is the problem. It's the size of a school bus, and the idea of re-entry vibration on it's delicate systems would likely make it a very heavy piece of useless junk by the time you got it back down.

Re:Attach it to the ISS? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#27908893)

Even if you did then you left with problems 2,3, and 4. Not to mention that the Hubble would probably be damaged by the trip home. Plus I am not sure that the Shuttle can get the Hubble to the ISS's orbit. It is at a much greater incline than the Hubble's orbit so it takes more fuel. I think it is lower so it may be possible but I would have too look up a lot of stuff to be sure.

Re:Attach it to the ISS? (1)

kulakovich (580584) | more than 5 years ago | (#27907401)

In addition to everyone else's points, and to elaborate on something in the last response - yes, indeed, there is a giant cloud of stuff in orbit with the ISS, whether it is washers, filings, toolbags, thruster exudate, water vapor, dings of micro meteorites, etc. Not an environment we want to put Hubble in.

~kulakovich

Re:Attach it to the ISS? (2, Informative)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27909149)

I don't understand why they don't grab Hubble and attach it to the International Space Station? It seems a waste to eventually let a great piece of equipment, into which so much money has been invested, to eventually just drift off into space/crash to earth.

Nice idea but it's physically impossible to do this with the shuttle. Even with no payload, the fuel required to shift the shuttles orbit when it's at Hubble to be able to rendezvous with the ISS is almost equal to the mass of the space shuttle itself. It simply can't be done. Thats why there's a second shuttle being prepped for launch in case there's a problem with Atlantis - the ISS cannot be used as a safe haven because it cannot reach it.

Grand pianos (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 5 years ago | (#27906325)

But they're big parts: The 'fine guidance sensors' sound delicate but weigh as much as a grand piano back on Earth.

Could someone help me convert this into something sane, like Volkswagens or Libraries of Congress?

piano : Earth :: ? : in orbit (1)

mkcmkc (197982) | more than 5 years ago | (#27906443)

weigh as much as a grand piano back on Earth

I'm not a physics expert, but if it weighs as much in orbit as a grand piano does on Earth, wouldn't that give it the mass of, say, the Titanic?

Re:piano : Earth :: ? : in orbit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27907923)

I'm not a physics expert, but if it weighs as much in orbit as a grand piano does on Earth, wouldn't that give it the mass of, say, the Titanic?

There's your answer right there.

"...doing Geek Squad-like repairs..." (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27906509)

Let's hope not.

Doomed (-1, Troll)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27906833)

I've watched several news reports on this, and they all seem to believe that the mission is doomed. They gleefully talk about how the second shuttle is ready to go up and retreive whatever is salvagable, and how the first shuttle will be dumped into the ocean. I get the impression from their reports that they really don't think the missions stands any chance of success.

Is this mission designed to fail from the start, so that Obama can blaim its failure on Bush, like everything else that goes wrong?

Re:Doomed (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27907435)

Is this mission designed to fail from the start, so that Obama can blaim its failure on Bush, like everything else that goes wrong?

Not likely, it's probably a combination of two things. First, NASA is making preparations for worst case scenario, like all organizations that work in hostile environments should. Second, the media generally likes sensational reporting because it boosts ratings and circulation, so they hype the "What if it all goes horribly wrong?" angle of the story.

See no conspiracy theory involved!

Re:Doomed (2, Informative)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 5 years ago | (#27908455)

It's a very tricky thing to get to Hubble. It's orbit and inclination puts it in a position that takes roughly half of Shuttle's fuel to get to it. They burn a bit wrong, and they're screwed; or perhaps never get to Hubble in the first place.

Either way, if they get there, and have a Columbia-type event with foam / ice / etc, the ISS is not an option as a lifeboat - they couldn't get there with the amount of fuel they have.

This mission is as dangerous as it gets in Earth orbit (currently).

T minus 140 minutes (2, Informative)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 5 years ago | (#27907747)

If you aren't already, follow the mission on the nasa website http://www.nasa.gov/ [nasa.gov]

Why is the Hubble so badly built? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27908181)

All these upgrades, repairs, etc. I swear a $10K daily driven Geo Metro has better reliability than the Hubble. Doesn't it seem troubling that the multi million $$$ Hubble breaks down constantly just being in empty space?

125 pounds (57 Kg) each! (1)

monkeySauce (562927) | more than 5 years ago | (#27908193)

They better be careful up there lifting shit like that! I don't know whether OSHA has an jurisdiction in space, but either way those astronauts better be using good team lift practices with those batteries because the last thing we need is for one of them to throw their back out up there!

Lets hope for a safe repair (1)

physburn (1095481) | more than 5 years ago | (#27909725)

and ten more years of observation from Hubble.

I'm also hoping that the James Webb Telescope [slashdot.org] , Hubbles inferred younger brother, goes to plan, and gets launched on its target 2003.

-- Astronomy Feed [feeddistiller.com] @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>