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Very special Shuttle mission starts Monday, hopefully

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A very special Shuttle mission is due to start on Monday at about 7pm BST. This mission will not go to the ISS but to the Hubble Space Telescope on the final maintenance trip.
The weather is good in Florida but due to the orbit they need to obtain the only overseas abort site is in Spain and the weather does not look so good there for Monday, could delay to launch.
I was at KSC on 18th on April and saw Atlantis ready at the pad and Endeavour on the sister pad prepared in case rescue mission has to be carried out at short notice. Normally if a shuttle is damaged during the launch the crew could stay at the ISS or a couple of weeks while they prepare a rescue mission, this time if that happens Atlantis does not have the fuel to get to the ISS so a rescue crew would have to get there much quicker. It is very doubtful a rescue will be needed but after Columbia they are prepared just incase.
Coverage can be seen on http://www.Nasa.gov as usual and I would imagine there will be quite a bit of coverage during the mission on the News Channels as this mission is very unusual.

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Cool! I'll be checking out on Monday. Cheers Mart!



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thanks martyn ...how many more shuttle missions before the programme is retired please?

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wotsit2 wrote:thanks martyn ...how many more shuttle missions before the programme is retired please?


Should be 9 including this one but it is looking like Obama will make money available for at least one more on top, they are still discussing how to shorten the gap between the shuttle and constellation programs by extending one or speeding up the other.




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any news on the ares project at all martyn please ?

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wotsit2 wrote:any news on the ares project at all martyn please ?


Pushing ahead although many in the industry don't think it's the best way to go. It's made up of two different rockets and they are ready to test the smaller crew Ares 1 this summer, the Orion, the crew capsule is being tested and is coming along ok, it's bigger than Apollo as it should fit four instead of three astronauts.

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Some changes had already started at the launch pad 39B and after this mission, which has Endeavour at that pad for processing but not flight the rest will go ahead. 39A will stay as it is for the rest of the shuttle program.




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i hope in our lifetimes that humans will return to the moon and even go to mars ...what an adventure that would be eh martyn? :thumb:

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wotsit2 wrote:i hope in our lifetimes that humans will return to the moon and even go to mars ...what an adventure that would be eh martyn? :thumb:


I really hope I am around for that first step back on the moon, should be sometime 2018-2022, thats a bloody long time unfortunatley. :thumbdown:




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martyn20 wrote:
wotsit2 wrote:i hope in our lifetimes that humans will return to the moon and even go to mars ...what an adventure that would be eh martyn? :thumb:


I really hope I am around for that first step back on the moon, should be sometime 2018-2022, thats a bloody long time unfortunatley. :thumbdown:

2018-2022 in 2022 i'll be 60 :eek: i'll get my kids to watch :D
was a special moment when i saw it happen in 69

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martyn20 wrote:
wotsit2 wrote:i hope in our lifetimes that humans will return to the moon and even go to mars ...what an adventure that would be eh martyn? :thumb:


I really hope I am around for that first step back on the moon, should be sometime 2018-2022, thats a bloody long time unfortunatley. :thumbdown:


Same here!! I hope I'm around for the first step on Mars too

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smeggypants wrote:
martyn20 wrote:
wotsit2 wrote:i hope in our lifetimes that humans will return to the moon and even go to mars ...what an adventure that would be eh martyn? :thumb:


I really hope I am around for that first step back on the moon, should be sometime 2018-2022, thats a bloody long time unfortunatley. :thumbdown:


Same here!! I hope I'm around for the first step on Mars too

smeggy, you'll be there first installing broadband servers :rofl:

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Thanks for the info Martyn, remind us all please when the shuttle is due to launch though, cause otherwise I'll forget and miss all the excitement as usual and have to watch the repeats on the news again!?

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ghostgirl wrote:Thanks for the info Martyn, remind us all please when the shuttle is due to launch though, cause otherwise I'll forget and miss all the excitement as usual and have to watch the repeats on the news again!?


I will keep you up to date, looks like an 80% chance of lift-off today, weather is better at Moron Air Base in Spain so they may get off. The weather gets worse over the following days in Florida.
Set for 19:01pm BST.




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martyn20 wrote:
ghostgirl wrote:Thanks for the info Martyn, remind us all please when the shuttle is due to launch though, cause otherwise I'll forget and miss all the excitement as usual and have to watch the repeats on the news again!?


I will keep you up to date, looks like an 80% chance of lift-off today, weather is better at Moron Air Base in Spain so they may get off. The weather gets worse over the following days in Florida.
Set for 19:01pm BST.


Cool, thanx babe, take of time in BIG RED LETTERS post so I can't fail to see it, ok?? :rofl: :rofl:

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Discovery channel are doing a Hubble special on Monday starting at 6pm

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smeggypants wrote:Discovery channel are doing a Hubble special on Monday starting at 6pm

cool thanks smeggy ..it'll be a good story because it started out as a little bit of a cock up with the mirror lens IIRC

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Hubble fix mission set for launch

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8038257.stm

The Hubble Space Telescope is set to receive its final overhaul when a space shuttle mission launches from Florida.

The shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to blast off on Monday in an attempt to repair the stricken space observatory.

Hubble has been hit by failures to its science instruments and to its onboard gyroscopes.

Engineers hope the challenging flight will give a new lease of life to one of the most important scientific tools ever built.

A successful mission would make Hubble up to 90 times more powerful than it was in its original guise and extend its operating lifetime until at least 2014.

The fifth and final servicing flight was delayed last year, when a critical component of the telescope failed. No more such missions are planned because of the space shuttle's impending retirement in 2010.

"Our workload is going to be very high," the mission's lead spacewalker John Grunsfeld told BBC News.

"There's no time to take a breather and look around, it's just going to be work, work, work."

He added: "It's going to be a marathon at a sprint pace for 11 days on orbit."

But if all goes well, it could trigger a magnificent renaissance for the much-loved space telescope.

Martin Barstow, professor of astrophysics and space science at the University of Leicester, UK, has been closely involved in planning for the mission.

He told BBC News: "If (the mission) is successful, as we all hope, it will not just return Hubble to health but increase its capability tremendously with the addition of two new, even more powerful instruments.

"It is a testament to the ingenuity and commitment of many scientists and engineers. I have no doubt that we will continue to be amazed by Hubble's new discoveries during the next few years."

After launch, Atlantis will rendezvous with Hubble, grab the telescope with its robotic arm and pull it on to a work platform to give astronauts easy access to its interior.

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Crew members will install new instruments and thermal blankets, repair two existing instruments, replace gyroscopes, batteries and a unit that stores and transmits science data to Earth.

The overhaul will be carried out over five spacewalks. Astronauts will remove the existing Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 instrument to make way for the new Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3).

WFC3 will be Hubble's first "panchromatic" camera with a wide field of view and is able to take amazingly sharp images over a broad range of colours.

"Wide Field Camera 3 is just going to blow people away with the pictures it is going to be able to take across a very wide wavelength spectrum, from the infrared to the ultraviolet," Mr Grunsfeld said.

It will enable astronomers to carry out new studies of dark energy and dark matter and search for remote galaxies previously beyond Hubble's vision.

Spacewalkers will also take out the Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement (COSTAR) device, installed during Hubble's first servicing mission to correct the telescope's flawed mirror.

This is no longer needed as instruments installed since have been designed individually to correct for the faults.

In COSTAR's place, astronauts will install the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS), designed to help researchers probe galaxy evolution, the formation of planets, the elements required for life and the web of gas between galaxies.

Repairs will be made to the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS), which suffered a power failure in 2004, and to the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), which was hit by an electrical short in 2007.

Astronauts will also replace a worn-out fine guidance sensor, helping to maintain a robust ability to point the telescope.

After the work to Hubble is complete, Atlantis will boost the telescope to a higher altitude, ensuring that it survives the tug of Earth's gravity for the remainder of its operating lifetime.

Professor Barstow commented: "I have to say that it has been a nail biting time waiting for this with all the problems that have got in the way, the most recent being the failure of the command and data handling module just about a week before the mission was due to launch last October.

"I think the team have done an amazing job of solving the problem of adding that repair to the programme and I wish them well for the mission."

'Unique beast'

Launched in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope is now regarded as one of the most important instruments in the history of astronomy. It has made a remarkable contribution to our understanding of the origin and evolution of the Universe.

Hubble has obtained the deepest views of the cosmos, finding high-interest objects for other observatories to investigate in detail. Its studies of the Universe's expansion also dramatically refined the best estimates for the age of the cosmos.

Its pictures have produced hard evidence for the existence of black holes and confirmed theories of planetary formation.

Three of the seven shuttle crew are veterans of previous Hubble servicing missions. This will be Mr Grunsfeld's third consecutive flight to the orbiting observatory.

Speaking to me at a conference last year, he said: "Hubble is something that has a huge family here on planet Earth. People have devoted their lives, their hearts, their souls, their blood in some cases to building, operating and servicing Hubble.

"The results that we get - the science - are a bit like the love you would get from a pet. Hubble is this unique beast. When we go up into orbit, I really do feel this kinship with it. Even more so after spending five days up close and personal working on it.

"When it's time to leave, I do feel a little bit of sadness... but my big goal is not to break it, and to send it off so it can do new science."

Following the Columbia disaster in 2003, which claimed the lives of seven astronauts, another mission to service Hubble was considered too hazardous.

The reason was astronauts would not be able to use the International Space Station (ISS) as a safe haven if the shuttle sustained damage on launch.

Nasa has now accepted the risk of the mission, but will have the shuttle Endeavour ready to launch immediately to bring the crew home if the servicing mission is endangered.

This unprecedented measure comes at a cost, however: a shuttle mission costs upwards of $450m (£298m; 333m euros).




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This unprecedented measure comes at a cost, however: a shuttle mission costs upwards of $450m (£298m; 333m euros).


Cool, I'll have a couple then!!!! :)

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At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, valves are open and about 500,000 gallons of chilled liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen are flowing into space shuttle Atlantis' external fuel tank at Launch Pad 39A. The "tanking" process, as it is known, began at 4:41 a.m. EDT after the Mission Management Team gave the go-ahead to proceed. Liftoff remains on schedule for 2:01 p.m. EDT. The launch weather forecast remains 90 percent favorable.

Quote from David Brennan




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Off topic for a second. Martyn! I love your new rank. Rocket Man is brilliant!!!!!!




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