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  STS-125: Preparing Atlantis to service Hubble (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   STS-125: Preparing Atlantis to service Hubble
Philip
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posted 08-23-2008 04:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Read some interesting statistics on micro-meteroid impacts on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST):

In February 1997, a total of 788 impact scars to the detectable limits of 0.5 centimeters were found on HST's external surface. Compared to the December 1993 servicing mission, an apparent increase of 20 impacts per square meter was noted!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-24-2008 08:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bill Harwood (CBS) provides the following update:
Because Atlantis' crew cannot seek "safe haven" aboard the space station if a post-launch problem prevents a safe re-entry, the shuttle Endeavour is being processed in parallel to serve as a rescue vehicle if needed. Processing has been going relatively smoothly, but engineers are assessing an unusual sound heard when Endeavour's external tank was rotated from horizontal to vertical recently in the VAB.

After debriefing on-scene engineers and technicians, taking X-rays and reviewing the tank's manufacturing history, troubleshooters do not yet know whether there is any debris inside the tank, whether the noise heard could have been debris falling from a crane or other equipment near the tank in the VAB or the result of something unrelated. It may not be possible to definitively pin down what might have caused the noise.

Engineers currently are assessing the fuel flow environment inside the tank, the strength of various screens and other safety features to make sure nothing could get sucked into one of the shuttle's main engines if any debris is, in fact, present.

A NASA spokesman said Sunday the issue remains open but so far, nothing has been found.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-25-2008 11:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA's Space Shuttle Atlantis To Move To Launch Pad Saturday

Space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to roll out to Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Saturday, Aug. 30. Atlantis is targeted to lift off Oct. 8 to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

The first motion of the shuttle out of Kennedy's Vehicle Assembly Building is scheduled for 12:01 a.m. EDT. The fully assembled space shuttle, consisting of the orbiter, external tank and twin solid rocket boosters, was mounted on a mobile launcher platform and will be delivered to the pad atop a crawler-transporter. The crawler will travel slower than 1 mph during the 3.4-mile journey. The process is expected to take approximately six hours.

Repairs to Launch Pad 39A's flame trench wall were completed Aug. 5 after crews installed a steel grid structure and covered it in a heat-resistant material. The pad's north flame trench was damaged when bricks tore away from the wall during the May 31 launch of space shuttle Discovery.

NASA Television will provide live coverage of Atlantis' move to the launch pad beginning at 6:30 a.m. Video highlights of the rollout will air on NASA TV Video File.

PowerCat
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posted 08-26-2008 05:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for PowerCat   Click Here to Email PowerCat     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Has anyone heard of any possibilities of delaying the Atlantis rollout with the formation of Hurricane Gustav? I saw some first projected path maps that indicate KSC and Florida may be in the path for next week.

PowerCat

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-26-2008 05:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As of Monday evening, NASA was still schedule to rollout on Saturday.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-26-2008 01:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Florida Today: NASA Halts Shuttle Stacking Operation
An operation aimed at connecting Atlantis and an external tank was put on hold this morning after engineers ran into trouble hooking up a liquid hydrogen feedline that routes fuel to the shuttle's three main engines.

The mating operation inside the Vehicle Assembly Building came to a halt when problems cropped up with an umbilical guidepin used to link the tank's 17-inch liquid hydrogen feedline with the orbiter's main propulsion system.

The feedline is on the left aft side of the tank and connects with the system through a tile-covered door on the belly of the shuttle orbiter. Click to enlarge the NASA photo above and you can see the umbilical that connects the pipe with the orbiter main propulsion system on the lower right side of the tank. Then click the enlarged image to make the image even bigger.

A guidepin within the umbilical is used to mate the feedline with the main propulsion system; then it is pulled out of an external tank side hole.

Some metallic debris on the pin caused it to hang-up, and it could not be removed after the mating operation. Engineers demated the umbilical and are meeting with managers to determine a go-forward plan.

It's unclear how long the mating operation might be stalled and whether plans to roll the shuttle out to pad 39A early Saturday might be effected.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-27-2008 12:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA update
Managers are looking to move space shuttle Atlantis to its launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center no earlier than Tuesday morning. Atlantis' rollout from Kennedy's Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39A was scheduled for Saturday morning. The delay will accommodate additional work on Atlantis. Technicians have removed a stuck guide pin on the plate that connects the external tank's liquid hydrogen umbilical to the shuttle. Workers now are making a series of follow-up inspections before reattaching the umbilical and other connections to prepare Atlantis for launch. The shuttle is attached to the external tank with several connectors during launch. The tank, which holds fuel and oxygen for the shuttle's three main engines, is jettisoned just as the shuttle reaches orbit.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-28-2008 04:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Updates Shuttle Atlantis' Move To Launch Pad Tuesday

Space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to roll out to Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, Sept. 2. Atlantis is targeted to lift off Oct. 8 on an 11-day mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. This new rollout date accommodates additional work on Atlantis.

NASA Television will provide live video of Atlantis at the launch pad beginning at 6:30 a.m. on Sept. 2. Video highlights of the rollout will air on NASA TV's Video File segments.

As workers prepare Atlantis for rollout, another team is lifting an external tank for Endeavour between a pair of solid rocket boosters for its STS-126 mission to the International Space Station.

Endeavour will be standing by on Pad 39B at when Atlantis lifts off from Pad 39A. After Atlantis is deemed safe for reentry, Endeavour will begin the move to Pad 39A for the start of STS-126 in November.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-29-2008 12:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John Shannon, space shuttle program manager, briefed his team yesterday that there is "likely" to be a delay launching STS-125.
Tropical Storm Fay cost HST processing four days; as a result, the launch date for STS-125 is likely to slip to October 11.
As noted on this thread before the storm, the HST program had advised that they had at most a one day allowance in their processing schedule. Any further delays to processing (e.g. another storm, a technical problem) will therefore result in the launch further slipping into the window.

Mr Meek
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posted 09-01-2008 12:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mr Meek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any idea when the official word might come on a launch delay? I assume sometime after first motion of the stack tomorrow.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-01-2008 12:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From what I understand, mission managers are favoring waiting until the Flight Readiness Review (FRR) on September 22, at which time they'll readjust the date to match the payload processing schedule.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-01-2008 01:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Update from Spaceflight Now:
Following this afternoon's weather briefing, the rollout of space shuttle Atlantis has been delayed by at least 24 hours. Rollout is now scheduled for no earlier than 12:01 a.m. EDT (0401 GMT) Wednesday.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-02-2008 11:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Update from Spaceflight Now:
Rollout of the space shuttle Atlantis to launch pad 39A is on hold until the threat from tropical storm Hanna subsides. The shuttle is now scheduled to make the 3.5 mile trip to the launch pad on Saturday morning at the earliest.
NASA release
Shuttle Atlantis' Move To Pad On Standby For Hanna

Managers at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., will closely follow Tropical Storm Hanna to determine when would be the best time this week to move space shuttle Atlantis to its launch pad.

Currently, the earliest Atlantis will be rolled out from Kennedy's Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39A is Thursday, Sept. 4, at 12:01 a.m. EDT.

If the storm stays on its current track, managers will wait until it passes off the coast of Kennedy and then move Atlantis to the pad, most likely Saturday morning. Rollout had been scheduled for Tuesday, but was delayed to allow managers to evaluate Hanna's possible affects on the center.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-03-2008 01:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With the threat from Tropical Storm Hanna subsiding, NASA decided today to proceed forward with preparations to roll out Atlantis from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Pad 39A beginning at 10:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-04-2008 09:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA update:
At 9:19 a.m. EDT this morning, space shuttle Atlantis began its slow trek from Kennedy Space Center's massive Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39A, a journey that should take approximately six hours. Managers met at 5:30 a.m. for a weather briefing on the status of Tropical Storm Hanna before making the final decision. They determined the effects from Hanna would remain far enough off shore to safely allow Atlantis' move to the pad where it will be protected by the rotating service structure as the storm bypasses the Florida coast on Friday.

This afternoon, the STS-125 crew is scheduled to arrive at KSC for an equipment test on Friday.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-04-2008 02:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Atlantis has arrived at Pad 39A...

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-04-2008 06:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Atlantis was secured at Pad 39A at 2:52 p.m. CDT.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-04-2008 07:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Photographs courtesy Ben (LaunchPhotography.com):

ASCAN1984
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posted 09-04-2008 07:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ASCAN1984   Click Here to Email ASCAN1984     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What a beautiful day in more ways than one. Always love the sight of an orbiter on it's way to work. Brilliant!!!!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-05-2008 11:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mr Meek:
Any idea when the official word might come on a launch delay?
NASA release
NASA Changes 2008 Shuttle Target Launch Dates, Schedules TCDT

NASA has adjusted the target launch dates for the two remaining space shuttle missions in 2008. Shuttle Atlantis' STS-125 mission to the Hubble Space Telescope is targeted for Oct. 10, while Endeavour's STS-126 supply mission to the International Space Station has moved to Nov. 12.

Shuttle managers made the decision after Atlantis was rolled to the launch pad and the effects of Tropical Storm Hanna were beyond NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. That allowed managers to more accurately assess the impacts of recent tropical systems on the launch schedule.

Atlantis began rolling from Kennedy's Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39A Thursday at 9:19 a.m. EDT. The shuttle arrived at the pad at approximately 2 p.m. and was secured at 3:52 p.m. Atlantis now is targeted to launch at approximately 12:33 a.m. EDT, Friday, Oct. 10. NASA Television coverage of launch will begin at 7:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday, Oct. 9. The 11-day flight will include five spacewalks to repair and upgrade the Hubble telescope. Atlantis is scheduled to land at approximately 10:21 p.m., Oct. 20.

The formal launch dates for space shuttle flights are determined during the Flight Readiness Review, which is conducted about two weeks before launch. The STS-125 review is scheduled for Sept. 22-23.

An STS-125 launch dress rehearsal, known as the terminal countdown demonstration test, or TCDT, is scheduled to take place at Kennedy Sept. 22-24. The test provides each shuttle crew with an opportunity to participate in simulated countdown activities, including equipment familiarization and emergency training.

Mr Meek
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posted 09-05-2008 01:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mr Meek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
(*pssst* NASA, bump it 5 more days, and give me the best birthday present ever.)

Wishful thinking, I know.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-09-2008 07:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Houston Chronicle: Space debris makes Hubble mission riskier
The space agency estimates the risk of a catastrophic collision for the seven Atlantis astronauts who will fly the 11-day Hubble mission at 1 in 185. The risk of a destructive blow approaches twice that of a shuttle mission to the international space station.

The increased danger can be attributed to several factors, including the recent destruction of American, Russian and Chinese satellites, said John Shannon, NASA's shuttle program manager.

"The environment has gotten worse," Shannon told a news briefing to preview the space agency's first visit to the 18-year-old orbiting telescope in more than six years.

Other risk factors include Hubble's higher altitude, about 350 miles, where spacecraft debris takes longer to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere. The station orbits at an altitude of 220 miles.

Shannon will lead shuttle managers in a discussion of the debris hazard and other mission risks at meeting late this week to review all of the preparations for the flight.

The debris risk is high enough, greater than a 1-in-200 threshold, that NASA Administrator Mike Griffin as well as the agency's top spaceflight, safety and engineering officials will have to confer at a second review session later this month before a final decision is made to proceed.

Related articles:

Robert Pearlman
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Florida Today: Loose Insulation May Slip Atlantis Launch
The payload for the Atlantis mission to the Hubble Space Telescope is going to be at least 24 hours later getting to Kennedy Space Center's launch pad 39A -- a development that likely will lead to a similar slip in an Oct. 10 target launch date.

Plans to transport the payload to the pad late Thursday are being held up because engineers and technicians discovered that insulation around new telescope batteries came loose and got caught up in a protective bagging inside a cargo bay carrier.

The carrier was removed from the canister that will transport it to the pad so the loose insulation can be cleaned up.

That work will delay the delivery to the pad by at least 24 hours. The Oct. 10 launch date likely will be pushed back to Oct. 11 or Oct. 12 as a result.

Earlier this afternoon, 'shuttle_guy' on Space.com's forums cited "hallway talk" as suggesting:
A contamination incident occurred this morning on the SLIC payload - Super Lightweight Interchangeable Carrier. The carrier holds Hubble's newest camera, the 980 lb Wide Field Camera 3 and two new batteries. A GSE line came loose from the a non flight enclosure that provided high pressure purge air to the Hubble batteries - the pressure in the line then impinged on TCS blankets and foam that secures the batteries causing particles to be introduced into the SLIC containment bag. This will delay the delivery of the payload to the pad at least 48 hours -- and likely longer once they determine the extent of the contamination.

Robert Pearlman
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Update from Bill Harwood (CBS):
Trouble with a purge system connected to a canister housing fresh batteries and a new camera bound for the Hubble Space Telescope somehow blew insulation into protective bagging around the cargo carrier, officials reported late today. Work to inspect and clean the canister will delay its delivery to the shuttle Atlantis at launch pad 39A by at least 24 hours. While a corresponding launch delay is possible, NASA is sticking with its current Oct. 10 launch target until managers get a better sense of how much lost time can be made up.

"During installation today of the super lightweight interchangeable carrier, the SLIC, what they believe is some insulation around the new batteries we're taking up on that carrier got blown by the purge system up inside the protective bagging," said NASA spokesman Allard Beutel. "So we stopped operations. We're having to unbag that carrier, clean up all the insulation, make sure there's no contamination, rebag it, install it in the canister and take it to the launch pad."

"Right now, it's at least a 24-hour delay (on delivery) to the launch pad," Beutel said. "Senior managers are looking at what effect that might have on the target launch date of Oct. 10."

The delay has apparently ruined plans for a photo opportunity showing both shuttles on NASA's two launch pads with gantries rolled back out of the way. This is believed to be the last time in program history when two shuttles will be on the pad at the same time. But with the 24-hour payload delay, Endeavour's gantry will be rolled into its normal protective position, blocking that shuttle from view, before Atlantis' service structure is pulled back for the arrival of the payload canister.

If launch slips to Oct. 11, readers are advised NASA has two possible launch times in the Eastern time zone: 12:03 a.m. and 11:36 p.m. The former would represent a 24-hour delay and the latter a 48-hour slip, even though both fall on Oct. 11. But again, no such delay has been announced and NASA managers are hopeful they can maintain the Oct. 10 target.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-18-2008 05:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA update
Contamination discovered Wednesday during preparations to deliver NASA's Hubble Space Telescope servicing payload to Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A has been removed. Cleanliness is extremely important for space shuttle Atlantis' STS-125 mission to Hubble, and the teams have insured that the Super Lightweight Interchangeable Carrier is ready to fly.

The Hubble payload will be moved to the pad Saturday at 6 p.m. EDT.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-21-2008 10:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The canister carrying Atlantis' payload to service and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope arrived at Pad 39A on Saturday evening however, technicians were unable to lift it into the changeout room. The teflon pads on the canister's recently serviced "shoes", which are used to move it along guide rails, were found to be improperly fit.

The shoes were removed and their pads were slightly shaved down so that they would fit onto the rails.

Technicians were scheduled to try lifting the canister again overnight on Sunday.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-21-2008 10:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The seven-member STS-125 crew arrived from Houston at Kennedy Space Center on Sunday, flying in on five T-38 jets to participate in the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT) this week. The training activities and countdown rehearsal will run from September 22 through 24.

The astronauts used their arrival to debut custom embroidered Atlantis/STS-125 caps.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-22-2008 12:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Technicians were scheduled to try lifting the canister again overnight on Sunday.
The canister was successfully lifted tonight into Pad 39A's changeout room where technicians will transfer the STS-125 payload into Atlantis' bay later this week.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-23-2008 07:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Spaceflight Now: Commander says crew needs to make up lost training
Reviewing emergency procedures at the Kennedy Space Center, Atlantis commander Scott Altman said today his crew lost a week of training time because of Hurricane Ike, "so you come to the question of either slipping the launch or cutting out events."

"We're still working with the whole system to balance that," he told reporters at the launch pad. "In the end, I think we're going to try to do most of our training and that, of course, may mean a bit of a slip. But it's being evaluated and we're kind of standing by."

Sources say launch is expected to slip a few days, but no final decisions have been made. A recommendation will be forwarded to an executive-level flight readiness review scheduled for Oct. 2 and 3.

"It was seven days, seven events," Altman said of the interrupted training. "Basically four NBL (Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory) runs, practicing the spacewalks; two large-scale integrated simulations with both Goddard and Houston playing together while we trained EVA-5 and rendezvous day. And then we missed an ascent integrated sim where we practice the whole launch routine and how we respond to emergencies. So a lot of important stuff. ... We had a little bit of room in the final couple of weeks, but all that stuff needs to be done and we have to make it happen before we fly.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-24-2008 04:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA update:
The target launch date for space shuttle Atlantis' STS-125 mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope has been reset to Oct. 14 at 10:19 p.m. EDT. A news conference is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 3, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to announce an official launch date.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-25-2008 11:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
United Space Alliance engineers are on schedule to install the STS-125 payload into Atlantis' bay by 8:00 p.m. EDT tonight.

These pictures are of the payload in the changeout room, ready to be loaded.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-29-2008 11:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA Spaceflight: Hubble control system failure threatens STS-125 launch date
A major failure of the "Side A" control system on the Hubble Space Telescope may delay STS-125's launch to 2009 - should managers decide to send up a replacement unit, or if a mitigation plan fails to restore the Telescope's functionality.

The failure has shut down Hubble's science operations, and is currently unable to send data back to Earth. Attempts will be made to switch to the "Side B" control system later this week.

"Side B" of the Control Unit/Science Data Formatter (CU/SDF) has not been operated on-orbit before, but was fully tested before launch.
"The plan as of now is to complete the transfer to the B side later this week. The details for this will be provided later by the project.

"If the B side comes up fine we could still launch on time so I propose that we do not postpone the (Agency) FRR (Flight Readiness Review) at this time.

"If the B side does not come on line then we clearly have no mission as there is no way to get science data down."

NASA managers are looking at their options, which includes flying STS-126 in November and STS-125 in February 2009. Even were they to switch to "Side B" there still may be a desire to replace the CU/SDF so as not to leave the telescope without redundant systems.

The CU/SDF receives ground commands, data requests, science and engineering data, and system signals. Two examples of system signals are "time tags" -- clock signals that synchronize the entire spacecraft -- and "processor interface tables" -- communications codes. The CU/SDF transmits commands and requests after formatting them so that the specific destination unit can read them. For example, ground commands and support system module (SSM, the science instrument enclosure like the dome of an Earth-based observatory) commands are transmitted with different formats. Ground commands use 27-bit words and SSM commands use 16-bit words. The formatter translates each command signal into a common format. The CU/SDF also reformats and sends engineering and science data.

Robert Pearlman
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Summary from Bill Harwood (CBS), reprinted with permission:
A science data control system aboard the Hubble Space Telescope failed Saturday, preventing the observatory from relaying data to the ground and effectively ending science operations until the observatory can be switched over to a backup unit late this week. The backup control unit/science data formatter, or CU/SDF-B, has not been powered up since the telescope was launched in 1990. Even if it works - and if multiple subsystems successfully make the transition - NASA would still be faced with a loss of redundancy in a critical system and a subsequent failure would permanently disable the observatory. As a result, sources say, launch of the shuttle Atlantis on Oct. 14 on a long-awaited mission to service the space telescope likely will slip to early next year if senior managers decide to replace the CU/SDF-A electronics box.

Shuttle mission STS-125, the fifth and final Hubble servicing mission, already has a full plate: five back-to-back spacewalks are planned to install two new science instruments, to repair two others, to install six new gyroscopes, six new batteries, a new fine guidance sensor and new insulation blankets. It is considered one of the most challenging Hubble servicing missions yet attempted.

A spare control unit/science data formatter, used for testing and troubleshooting, is available at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., but it has not been powered on since 2001 and it would require extensive testing and checkout to upgrade it to flight status. Whether the unit could be added to Atlantis' payload complement without bumping something else is not yet known.

Likewise, it's not yet known when Atlantis could be ready for launch if a replacement is ordered. But sources said today the flight likely would slip to January or February, throwing a wrench of sorts into NASA's tightly scripted space station assembly schedule.

If the Hubble flight is, in fact, delayed to next year, NASA likely would press ahead with plans to launch the shuttle Endeavour around Nov. 16 on a space station assembly mission. Endeavour already is mounted atop pad 39B to serve as a quick-response rescue vehicle for Atlantis should the Hubble crew encounter any orbiter problems that might prevent a safe re-entry. It's not yet clear, however, which pad Endeavour would use if the Hubble flight is delayed.

Either way, the shuttle Discovery, now scheduled for launch Feb. 12 on a mission to deliver a final set of solar arrays to the station, would have to replace Endeavour as a rescue vehicle for Atlantis.

In the meantime, NASA managers have postponed a planned executive-level flight readiness review for Atlantis and mission STS-125. A media teleconference to discuss the Hubble failure and possible shuttle launch scenarios is expected later today.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-29-2008 12:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA To Discuss Hubble Anomaly And Servicing Mission Launch Delay

NASA will host a media teleconference at 6 p.m. EDT today to discuss a significant Hubble Space Telescope anomaly that occurred this weekend affecting the storage and transmittal of science data to Earth. Fixing the problem will delay next month's space shuttle Atlantis Hubble servicing mission.

The briefing participants are:

  • Ed Weiler, Associate administrator, Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington
  • John Shannon, Shuttle Program Manager, NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas
  • Preston Burch, Hubble Manager, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
As a result of the launch delay, NASA has postponed the planned Oct. 3 Flight Readiness Review and subsequent news conference. The review will occur at a later date.

The malfunctioning system is Hubble's Control Unit/Science Data Formatter - Side A. Shortly after 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27, the telescope's spacecraft computer issued commands to safe the payload computer and science instruments when errors were detected within the Science Data Formatter. An attempt to reset the formatter and obtain a dump of the payload computer's memory was unsuccessful.

Additional testing demonstrates Side A no longer supports the transfer of science data to the ground. A transition to the redundant Side B should restore full functionality to the science instruments and operations.

The transition to Side B operations is complex. It requires that five other modules used in managing data also be switched to their B-side systems. The B-sides of these modules last were activated during ground tests in the late 1980s and/or early 1990, prior to launch.

The Hubble operations team has begun work on the Side B transition and believes it will be ready to reconfigure Hubble later this week. The transition will happen after the team completes a readiness review.

Hubble could return to science operations in the immediate future if the reconfiguration is successful. Even so, the agency is investigating the possibility of flying a back-up replacement system, which could be installed during the servicing mission.

Audio of the teleconference will be streamed live.

jasonelam
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Posts: 443
From: Monticello, KY USA
Registered: Mar 2007

posted 09-29-2008 02:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is a news article that caught my eye, and will hopefully catch yours.

Is it me... or did Hubble morph it's shape?

Mr Meek
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Posts: 348
From: Chattanooga, TN
Registered: Dec 2007

posted 09-29-2008 02:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mr Meek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jasonelam:
Is it me... or did Hubble morph it's shape?
Yep. It's a Mir shadow of its former self.

tncmaxq
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Posts: 264
From: New Haven, CT USA
Registered: Oct 2001

posted 09-29-2008 04:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tncmaxq   Click Here to Email tncmaxq     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Too bad this news comes on another important anniversary. It's 20 years since the launch of STS-26. Seems like yesterday. That was a long 32 months since 51-L and I was so proud and thrilled so see Discovery lift off, even if I was only watching on TV.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-29-2008 07:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As was reported earlier and confirmed by NASA during a media telecon, Atantis' STS-125 mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope will be delayed. The length of the delay is not yet known, but will likely slip into next year.

The delay will give Hubble managers the time to attempt re-enabling the telescope's science data system by switching to its back-up "Side B" control string, as well as test a ground support unit as a possible replacement and if approved, train the crew to perform its installation.

Even if the "Side B" can be brought online -- managers are optimistic, despite having never done so in the 18-year history of the Hubble -- they still desire to changeout the Control Unit/Science Data Formatter, as this being the last servicing mission, they would like to have redundancy restored.

"If we're going to spend the money and take all the risk involved in a shuttle mission, we want to be sure we leave Hubble as healthy as we possibly can and potentially lasting for five or 10 more years," said Ed Weiler, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate.

Should the ground support unit not be approved for flight, then it is possible that NASA could decide to launch STS-125 in November, inheriting the current window for STS-126. More likely, Endeavour will launch as currently scheduled and then NASA will need to decide whether to launch Atlantis or Discovery (STS-119) first in 2009.

If the earlier, then Discovery will need to have its flight software overhauled to serve as the STS-400 "Launch on Need" vehicle; if the latter, then Endeavour will regain the role, ahead of its STS-127 mission.

In the immediate future, NASA plans to remove the payload from Atlantis on Pad 39A, to safely protect it inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility. Should STS-125 be delayed beyond this year, the shuttle will be rolled back to the Vehicle Assembly Building.

NASA expects to make a decision on how to proceed by the end of next week.

E2M Lem Man
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Posts: 793
From: Los Angeles CA. USA
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 09-30-2008 10:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for E2M Lem Man     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does this mean that the Soyuz schedule will be affected? Will Garriott's flight be affected, as well as astronaut Chamitoff's ride home?

J.M. Busby

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-30-2008 11:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Soyuz TMA-13 will fly as scheduled on October 12 with Mike Fincke, Yuri Lonchakov and Richard Garriott.

Greg Chamitoff's return will rely on when NASA decides to launch STS-126, but if STS-125 slips to next year as expected, then his trip back to Earth may launch two days early on November 14.


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