Fourth Servicing Mission to HST (SM4)

Table of Contents:

This mission to upgrade HST is expected to be the last of a series of very successful visits by astronauts with the Shuttle.  On this mission we expected to repair two science instruments, and to install new batteries, gyros, a guidance sensor and two new science instruments.  However, preparations were suspended in January 2004 as a result of the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia.  This caused us to seek an alternate way to repair Hubble without using a Space Shuttle, and we worked on a robotic mission instead.  Then, in April 2005, Dr. Mike Griffin became the new NASA Administrator, who decided to cancel the robotics mission and in October 2006 put us back on track for a Shuttle mission.

Meeting Dr. Mike Griffin at the 2009 Goddard Memorial Dinner, hosted by
the National Space Club.

On this mission, I will have four roles:

Mission Preparations

Jan Poets visiting GSFC to film our preparations for SM4.

In July 2008, Jan Poets (aka Eddie Petersen) came to Goddard to film our preparations for the mission.  He is well known in Aruba for filiming documentaries.  I chose this month for his visit because it was at a time when the astronaut crew was in town, so most of the mission hardware was assembled in one location.  In the image above, we are standing in the SDIF clean room at the Goddard Space Flight Center with all the carriers and Science Instruments present.  On the left is the ORUC, which carries Cosmic Origins Spectrograph and the Fine Guidance Sensor.  In the background is SLIC, which carries WFC3, and the new batteries.  Finally, on the right is the FSS, which holds Hubble down in the Shuttle Cargo Bay.  Not shown is the MULE carrier as it was inside the Thermal Vac chamber.

During one of our training sessions (JIS) at the Johnson Space Center, we visit the original Apollo Misson Operations Control Room (MOCR).  From left to right: me,
Richard Strafella (EVA) and Larry Dell (WFC3 Systems).

One of the items that will be installed on this servicing mission will be a repair kit
for the Advanced Camera for Surveys.  To celebrate the long road towards building
the hardware, Ed Cheng had a picnic at his house and
invited the team members. (Photo by Jan Poets).

At that dinner, John Grunsfeld, who installed the ARUBA, was also present. 
Previously, on that day, we had our Pre-Environmental Readiness Review,
and I wore my Silver Snoopy that day.  John was the one that awarded
me that honor many years before. (Photo by Jan Poets).

Most of the members of the ACS Repair team.  Some folks from Ball
Aerospace not shown here.

At the Kennedy Space Center

One of my favorite activities at KSC is to give tours of the Orbiter, OPF and the VAB to fellow coworkers that have not been here before.  It is a real privilege to work in an exciting industry such as this.  These are photos of some of those visits.

Some members of the ACS-R team spelling out the letters:
A:me, C:Kathleen Mil, S: Erin Wilson, R:Kevin Boyce.

Greg Magneson, Jeff Surber and Colin Vogel are here in the aft section right at the
Main Engine Nozzles.  When we visited that day, they were testing the actuators,
and we were able to see the Engine bells gimballing around, and the wing
control surfaces were moving.  A rare and very amazing sight.

Atlantis was about to be rolled out to the VAB, which afforded us a great view of the aft section where all the main engines and the OMS are located.  Left to right:
Dave Hickey, Lisa Hardaway, me, Richard Hoffman.

With Russell Adams, who is the lead for the Forward Compartment
in Bay 2 (Endeavour).

At the entrance hatch of Endeavour.  This craft will be the standby 'rescue' Shuttle
for STS-125, and is known as STS-400.  From left to right, Lisa Hardaway, Richard 'Hoff' Hoffman, Tony Cappiello, me, Dave Hickey.

We signed the walls of the OPF-2 white room (the one for Endeavour) before
we entered into the Shuttle.  The white room for OPF-2 has the distinction of
containing all the signitures of the crew of STS-102 (Columbia).

One of my best buddies on WFC3, Hoff, is here "navigating" the Shuttle.

Annie (left) was the Spacecraft Checkout Officer in the Aft Flight Deck.
Lisa (WFC3 Systems) is on the right.

Robin Ripley sitting in the airlock to the Cargo Bay.

On the flight deck of Endeavour: Dave Petrick, me, Sai Chiang.

This photo shot with Brian Elleman who is the forward lead of the Discovery.
We are standing with a view of the Aft section with the Main Engines missing.
You can see the two yellow bars that cover the actuators that gimbal the engine's nozzle,
and the center flange that is the main thrust point of the engine.

From left to right: Mark, Becky Emerley, Kathleen Mil, Kevin Boyce and Erin Wilson.

This is the latrine that for the Shuttle crew.  It is located near the entrance hatch.  The blue tube is for "no.1" (male and female).  When seated, you use the two handle-like bars next to the seat to hold you down (they rotate towards you).  When you are doing a "no.2", you pull the handle on the left (near red tag), and it sucks the material away into a centrifugal dryer.  The liquid waste is then ejected into space.

Note the (reportedly) Apollo era Break-Out Boxes.  They were troubleshooting
a problem with the latrine that day.

We received a demonstration of the Thermal Protection System, and I was given a
sample of the gap filler material to keep.  This material is inserted between the
tiles to prevent them from rubbing each other upon reentry.
From left to right: Kelvin Garcia, Kimathi Tull, me, Laura Walker.

To see shipment and KSC processing photos of WFC3, see here.
To see more Orbiter Atlantis visit photos, here.
To see Florida/Disney family vacation picts, here.

During our processing flow at KSC, Tropical Storm Fay passed over us and stopped
its forward progress.  The blue line above is the estimated track of the storm.
We stayed at the Residence Inn in Cape Canaveral, and that hotel is near
the 'a' of 'Cape'. Its center passed within one mile of the hotel.
Click here for full resolution image.

View from inside our office area, the MOSB (at KSC) after the storm passed.
Lots of ceiling tiles crumbled.

After the storm passed, Atlantis was rolled into the VAB for assembly.
Here you see it being lifted for the stacking operation.

It is lifted by two cranes, and then tilted vertically seemingly as easily as a toy.
The huge size of the VAB makes this possible in an indoors environment.
Read an article regarding this lift.

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(c) 2008, Edward Cheung, all rights reserved.