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  STS-125: Crew assignments

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Author Topic:   STS-125: Crew assignments
Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-31-2006 09:22 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 Approves Mission and Names Crew for Return to Hubble

Shuttle astronauts will make one final house call to NASA's Hubble Space Telescope as part of a mission to extend and improve the observatory's capabilities through 2013.

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin announced plans for a fifth servicing mission to Hubble Tuesday during a meeting with agency employees at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. Goddard is the agency center responsible for managing Hubble.

"We have conducted a detailed analysis of the performance and procedures necessary to carry out a successful Hubble repair mission over the course of the last three shuttle missions. What we have learned has convinced us that we are able to conduct a safe and effective servicing mission to Hubble," Griffin said. "While there is an inherent risk in all spaceflight activities, the desire to preserve a truly international asset like the Hubble Space Telescope makes doing this mission the right course of action."

The flight is tentatively targeted for launch during the spring to fall of 2008. Mission planners are working to determine the best location and vehicle in the manifest to support the needs of Hubble while minimizing impact to International Space Station assembly. The planners are investigating the best way to support a launch on need mission for the Hubble flight. The present option will keep Launch Pad 39-B at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla., available for such a rescue flight should it be necessary.

Griffin also announced the astronauts selected for the mission. Veteran astronaut Scott D. Altman will command the final space shuttle mission to Hubble. Navy Reserve Capt. Gregory C. Johnson will serve as pilot. Mission specialists include veteran spacewalkers John M. Grunsfeld and Michael J. Massimino and first-time space fliers Andrew J. Feustel, Michael T. Good and K. Megan McArthur.

Altman, a native of Pekin, Ill., will be making his fourth spaceflight and his second trip to Hubble. He commanded the STS-109 Hubble servicing mission in 2002. He served as pilot of STS-90 in 1998 and STS-106 in 2000. Johnson, a Seattle native and former Navy test pilot and NASA research pilot, was selected as an astronaut in 1998. He will be making his first spaceflight.

Chicago native Grunsfeld, an astronomer, will be making his third trip to Hubble and his fifth spaceflight. He performed five spacewalks to service the telescope on STS-103 in 1999 and STS-109 in 2002. He also flew on STS-67 in 1995 and STS-81 in 1997. Massimino, from Franklin Square, N.Y., will be making his second trip to Hubble and his second spaceflight. He performed two spacewalks to service the telescope during the STS-109 mission in 2002.

Feustel, Good, and McArthur were each selected as astronauts in 2000. Feustel, a native of Lake Orion, Mich., was an exploration geophysicist in the petroleum industry at the time of his selection by NASA. Good is from Broadview Heights, Ohio, and is an Air Force colonel and weapons' systems officer. He graduated from the Air Force Test Pilot School, having logged more than 2,100 hours in 30 different types of aircraft. McArthur, born in Honolulu, considers California her home state. An oceanographer and former chief scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, she has a doctorate from the University of California-San Diego.

The two new instruments are the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) and Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). The COS is the most sensitive ultraviolet spectrograph ever flown on Hubble. The instrument will probe the cosmic web, the large-scale structure of the universe whose form is determined by the gravity of dark matter and is traced by the spatial distribution of galaxies and intergalactic gas.

WFC3 is a new camera sensitive across a wide range of wavelengths (colors), including infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light. It will have a broad inquiry from the planets in our solar system to the early and distant galaxies beyond Hubble's current reach, to nearby galaxies with stories to tell about their star formation histories.

Other planned work includes installing a refurbished Fine Guidance Sensor that replaces one degrading unit of the three already onboard. The sensors control the telescope's pointing system. An attempt will also be made to repair the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph. Installed in 1997, it stopped working in 2004. The instrument is used for high resolution studies in visible and ultraviolet light of both nearby star systems and distant galaxies, providing information about the motions and chemical makeup of stars, planetary atmospheres, and other galaxies.

"Hubble has been rewriting astronomy text books for more than 15 years, and all of us are looking forward to the new chapters that will be added with future discoveries and insights about our universe," said Mary Cleave, NASA's associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate.

The Hubble servicing mission is an 11-day flight. Following launch, the shuttle will rendezvous with the telescope on the third day of the flight. Using the shuttle's mechanical arm, the telescope will be placed on a work platform in the cargo bay. Five separate space walks will be needed to accomplish all of the mission objectives.

"The Hubble mission will be an exciting mission for the shuttle team. The teams have used the experiences gained from Return to Flight and station assembly to craft a very workable Hubble servicing flight. The inspection and repair techniques, along with spacewalk planning from station assembly, were invaluable in showing this mission is feasible," said Associate Administrator for Space Operations Bill Gerstenmaier. "There are plenty of challenges ahead as the teams do the detailed planning and figure the best way to provide for a launch on need capability for the mission. There is no question that this highly motivated and dedicated flight control team will meet the challenge."

The Hubble Space Telescope is an international cooperative project between NASA and the European Space Agency.

mjanovec
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posted 10-31-2006 09:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Glad to see the mission is on! I was also pleased to see Altman and Grunsfeld assigned to the crew... they are the best qualified to do the job.

KSCartist
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From: Titusville, FL USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 10-31-2006 10:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This decision rivals the one to send Apollo 8 around the Moon. The risk is just as great but the distance is much closer.

It's the right decision for the right reasons. As Mike Griffin quoting Bryan O'Connor's favorite saying. "It's not safety job to say, 'No'. It's safety's job to say 'yes, if'."

I know the entire NASA/contractor team will work as hard and diligently as they can to make this daring flight a success. If they do succeed they should all receive the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

Philip
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From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 10-31-2006 10:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hope the mission will go okay! Looking forward to some future Hubble Deep Field images.

november25
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From: Douglas, Isle of Man, UK
Registered: Feb 2004

posted 10-31-2006 12:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for november25   Click Here to Email november25     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KSCartist:
It's the right decision for the right reasons.
I feel the same. Being very interested in the HST it's great news.

mjanovec
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From: Midwest, USA
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posted 10-31-2006 12:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KSCartist:
This decision rivals the one to send Apollo 8 around the Moon. The risk is just as great but the distance is much closer.
While I agree every mission has a certain level of risk, I'm not sure this comes anywhere near as risky as Apollo 8. A lot of things were done for the very first time on Apollo 8. The next Hubble mission will essentially be doing things that have been tested and done before. The Shuttle has flown the majority of it's flights where immediate rescue was not an option... basically every flight before the ISS was constructed (except for the Mir flights).

To me, this mission signals that NASA still has enough confidence in the shuttle that it can be launched without an immediate lifeboat nearby. If for only one mission, NASA is willing to assume the risks that it had assumed dozens of times prior to STS-107.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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From: Toms River, NJ,USA
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posted 10-31-2006 02:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As a (former) Lawn Guylander, it's nice to see Massimino assigned to another crew so soon - and also good to see Altman assigned as well. Altman said he wanted to be part of the corps when they go back to the moon; I wonder what happens after his fourth mission since there are other astronauts waiting for a flight?

Tom
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posted 10-31-2006 03:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very surprising to see the amount of Group 18 astronauts chosen (3) for STS-125... even before some Group 17 were selected for a mission.

Space Emblem Art
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From: Citrus Heights, CA - USA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 10-31-2006 10:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Space Emblem Art   Click Here to Email Space Emblem Art     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thankfully the myopic Sean O'Keefe is gone from NASA. He probably would have stopped Columbus from leaving Spain. If we can't risk fixing Hubble we'd have no business attempting to return to the moon.

Provided this Hubble flight successfully accomplishes its mission we should be rewarded with images and information which we can't even imagine now. It's so exciting that it'll get a new lease on life.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 10-31-2006 10:53 PM     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 Space Emblem Art:
Thankfully the myopic Sean O'Keefe is gone from NASA.
In 2004, when O'Keefe decided to cancel the servicing mission, we had still not launched a return to flight mission, let alone three new missions. We hadn't tested the boom for inspections (not to mention repairs); we hadn't flight tested repair techniques; we hadn't finalized the procedures for CSCS (safe haven); we didn't know if the launch imagery we had planned would be effective; and we hadn't flight qualified any changes to any External Tank.

O'Keefe made his decision based on the information available at the time. Were he still NASA Administrator, he may have very well seriously considered rescinding his choice, just as Griffin did these past few months.

mjanovec
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From: Midwest, USA
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posted 11-01-2006 04:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
O'Keefe made his decision based on the information available at the time. Were he still NASA Administrator, he may have very well seriously considered rescinding his choice, just as Griffin did these past few months.
While I agree with what you say, I also can't help but thinking O'Keefe was short-sighted in canceling the Hubble servicing mission. He should have adopted a wait-and-see approach. After all, the repair abilities that were necessary for return-to-flight not only would determine the viability of a Hubble mission, but would have determined the viability of continuing the Shuttle program in any capacity whatsoever. Reduction of foam shedding and development of on-orbit imaging and repair techniques were also vital before resuming construction of the ISS. Once those problems were licked (and I hope they truly are), a Hubble servicing flight should then be theoretically possible... something that Michael Griffin confirmed with his announcement today.

I always thought O'Keefe reacted much too quickly to cancel the Hubble the mission. He caused a lot of heartburn by making his decision before the Shuttle program could demonstrate it's new capabilities. While he may have been willing to reverse that decision, I'm glad he was ultimately not the one who got to make the final call. I have a hunch that O'Keefe, like many managers, wouldn't have reversed his decision... because it comes down to admitting that one was wrong (or hasty) in the first place.

Plus, I have to admit I'm a fan of Administrator Griffin and his no-nonsense style of management. He is a breath of fresh air that the agency has needed. No ill feelings towards O'Keefe, mind you... it's just that I think NASA is in better shape under Griffin's watch.

astro-nut
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From: washington, Illinois USA
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posted 11-01-2006 12:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for astro-nut   Click Here to Email astro-nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm very glad and happy that the STS-125 Hubble mission is a go. It will be a flight for the history books and for our universe. I'm happy for everyone of the astronauts assigned to this flight and may God Bless them and the entire NASA Team!!

KenDavis
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From: W.Sussex United Kingdom
Registered: May 2003

posted 11-01-2006 02:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KenDavis   Click Here to Email KenDavis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If STS-125 extends the life of Hubble to 2013 could another service mission via Orion be an option? Even with the James Webb Telescope operational by then I am sure there would still be work for Hubble to do.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 11-01-2006 03:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A servicing mission is not likely an option, in part because of its limited payload capacity but primarily due to Orion's lack of EVA support. Orion is only designed to accommodate contingency spacewalks.

Space Emblem Art
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From: Citrus Heights, CA - USA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 11-01-2006 11:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Space Emblem Art   Click Here to Email Space Emblem Art     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
O'Keefe made his decision based on the information available at the time.
While I understand the points you make, Mark pretty well summarized my thoughts when I commented on the "myopic" Sean O'Keefe. While Mr. O'Keefe perhaps reacted correctly in your opinion under those circumstances I believe he was not the right man for the job, a poor choice by Pres. Bush. Without over-elaborating, he lacked the imagination needed to see past the immediate short term setbacks. Instead, his decision seemed like the typical knee jerk reaction when something bad happens. It makes me wonder if O'Keefe would have canceled the rest of the Apollo lunar program after the Apollo 13 explosion. I'm sure if Mr. O'Keefe is reading this I won't receive his invitation for Thanksgiving dinner.

Meanwhile, "hurrah" for Mr. Griffin's decision and best wishes for a successful Hubble servicing mission.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-02-2006 02:16 PM     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 Space Emblem Art:
...he was not the right man for the job, a poor choice by Pres. Bush. Without over-elaborating, he lacked the imagination needed to see past the immediate short term setbacks.
O'Keefe was initially brought in for a very specific purpose: to get cost overruns plaguing NASA and the space station program under control. Of course that all changed on February 1, 2003...

And as for seeing past immediate short term setbacks, Griffin apparently lacked the same imagination. O'Keefe's successor did not immediately reverse his predecessor's decision; instead he waited until the safety precautions could be demonstrated and proven.

Griffin never took the mission for granted either, as evidenced by the fact that it was never budgeted for: as he said earlier this week, Griffin still does not know where the $900 million needed for STS-125 will be sourced.

OV-105
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posted 11-02-2006 07:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Too bad they lost the EDO pallet on STS-107. If they could add one to the STS-125 flight that could give them more time to do more work on HST or if they had to wait for another shuttle. I am glad they are doing one more repair flight.

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