Basic facts about the STS-125 Hubble servicing mission, August 7, 2008

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  1. Planned launch date: August 7, 2008
  2. It is the fifth and final planned servicing mission for the Hubble Space Telescope.
  3. The mission is formally known as Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission 4 (HST-SM4)
  4. The space shuttle Atlantic is the orbiter designated for STS-125
  5. Scott D. Altman is the Commander of the mission.
  6. The Pilot for STS-125 is Gregory C. Johnson.
  7. STS-125 will carry the Soft-Capture Mechanism, and install it onto the telescope.
  8. The Cosmic Origins Spectrograph will be added to the telescope.
  9. The Wide Field Camera 3, is a panchromatic wide-field camera, and will also be added to the telescope.
  10. An IMAX camera will also travel along with STS-125 for a future IMAX movie release by Warner Bros.

For more information

Soft Capture Mechanism — The SCM is a compact device that, when attached to the Hubble aft bulkhead, will enable and assist in the safe de-orbit of the Hubble Space Telescope at the end of its useful life. This circular mechanism has structures and targets that will allow a de-orbit vehicle more easily to capture and guide the telescope into a safe controlled re-entry

Space Telescope Imagine Spectrograph (Cosmic Origins Spectograph( — STIS, the most versatile spectrograph ever to fly on Hubble, ceased operations in August 2004 due to failure of its power supply. STIS is currently in safe mode and not producing science. To restore STIS to operational status, astronauts will attempt an on-orbit replacement of one electronics board inside one of its main electronics boxes. The plan is under development on a best efforts basis.  COS and STIS are highly complementary and would work effectively together to provide a full set of spectroscopic tools for astrophysical research.

Wide Field Camera 3, or WFC3, will have a broad range of inquiry, from early and distant galaxies beyond Hubble’s current reach, to more nearby galaxies with “stories to tell” about their star formation histories, to the planets in our solar system.  Along the way, “dark energy” will be seriously probed by WFC3.  The instrument’s key feature is its ability to span the electromagnetic spectrum from the near ultraviolet (NUV), through the optical (to which our eyes are sensitive), and into the near infrared (NIR).  WFC3 is the only Hubble instrument with this “panchromatic” capability. WFC3’s “UVIS” detector—sensitive to NUV and optical light—will provide a 35X improvement in discovery efficiency in NUV and blue light over the current ACS instrument. The NIR detector will provide a 15-20 times improvement in discovery efficiency over the current NICMOS instrument. WFC3’s strengths complement those of ACS, and working together these instruments will create the greatest era in the spectacular history of Hubble imaging.

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~ by tellinghistory on November 23, 2007.

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