Friday, May 15, 2009

Live in Orbit: Hubble's first new gyro "alive"

An "aliveness" test has confirmed good electrical connections for the first new set of gyroscopes installed on the Hubble Space Telescope today by Atlantis spacewalkers.

Mike Massimino and Mike Good got that news about two hours into their spacewalk, the second of five planned during the 11-day final mission to Hubble.

"Fantastic," one of them said.

The pair of gyroscopes was the first of three to be installed today, packaged inside boxes called Rate Sensor Units, or RSUs.

If successful, Hubble will have a completely fresh set of six new gyroscopes to help point its instruments accurately and hold its position.

Massimino, who is "free floating" with tethers, and Good, who is riding on the end of the shuttle's robotic arm, are returning the first old RSU box to shuttle's payload bay for return home.

Then they'll pick up the second new set and begin installing it in the uppper left portion of the telescope's "aft shroud." That's the large diameter section near the bottom of the telescope as it sits fastened in the payload bay.

No comments: