Atlantis finally go for Hubble mission
Roll-out to launch pad next week
The vehicle, complete with external fuel tank and twin solid rocket boosters, will travel atop a crawler-transporter for the 3.4 mile journey from the Vehicle Assembly Building to the pad. The trip will take around six hours, NASA estimates.
On board for the 11-day "Servicing Mission Four" - scheduled to blast off on 12 May - are (pictured left to right) mission specialists Michael J Massimino and Michael T Good, pilot Gregory C Johnson, commander Scott D Altman and mission specialists K Megan McArthur, John M Grunsfeld and Andrew J Feustel.
NASA's mission summary explains that this final servicing trip to the space 'scope will "bring new instruments to Hubble along with gyros, batteries and other components crucial for the telescope’s continued success through the year 2013".
Specifically, five spacewalks will see the installation of the new Cosmic Origins Spectrograph and Wide Field Camera 3, plus a refurbished Fine Guidance Sensor which will "replace one degrading unit of three now onboard, and will maintain a robust ability to point the telescope".
Discovery is still up there, due back tomorrow so I guess they'll be too busy dealing with that one to be getting Endeavour ready (which itself is probably being prepared for it's ISS mission in June).
A fitting tribute to the shuttle and Hubble
The shuttle might have proved an expensive and not entirely reliable way in to space, but this is the sort of job it excels at, and this mission is a fitting tribute to the closing stages of both it and the telescope's life. Without the shuttles ability to service it, Hubble would have been a huge flop rather than providing some of mankind's best views of the universe. Well done to NASA for allowing this last servicing mission to go ahead, and best of luck to the crew in their task.
No piss recycler
It was only after getting to the end without reading anything about a piss recycler that I realised it was Hubble rather than the ISS.
A golden watercooler for Hubble say I!