Fourth Servicing Mission to HST (SM4) Page 8

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Post Mission Celebration Ceremonies

On Sept 8 2009, my coworkers and I boarded four large buses and headed to the world famous Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.  We were shown a preview of the 3D IMAX movie that was shot during the mission by the cargo bay camera.

The movie was extremely impressive.  The camera uses about one mile of film, and consumes this in 8 minutes.  It alternately shoots a left and right image on the film, and is digitally copied onto two separate reels for projection.  The ARUBA box is prominently seen in the movie, and it is breathtaking to see all of HST in 3D realism.  The movie should be released in the Spring of 2010.

Then on Sept 9 2009, the first images of the new set of instruments were revealed to the public.  They showed that the entire observatory is functioning beautifully, and we have 6 properly operating instruments for the first time ever.

That evening, we returned to the museum to attend a glamorous reception with the dignitaries such as Charles Bolden (new NASA administrator), Ed Weiler (Associate Administrator for Science), the astronaut crew of STS-125, and several other VIPs).

As is usual for receptions held at this museum, the food was excellent, with lavish desserts, and it was great to see coworkers and rub elbows with the famous and important.

This was the invitation for the wonderful evening at the
Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

This is Ed Weiler showing and explaining to the audience the released
science images.  This one is Stephan's Quintet.  It shows five galaxies
in the same image, some of them interacting with each other.

Although I have met Dr. John Mather several times, including in meetings
at work, this is the first time I took a picture with the first
NASA Nobel prize recipient.

This is with Greg "Ray Jay" Johnson, the pilot of STS-125.

On the left is Scott "Scooter" Altman, commander of STS-125, and on the right
Judy Carroll, the associate producer of the Hubble IMAX 3D movie.

Bruce McCandless was one of the astronauts on STS-31, the mission
that deployed/released Hubble in 1990.  He was a frequent visitor
to us at work, and a member of the independent review team
that Charles Bolden chaired for SM-4.

This is a screen snap of the IMAX 3D movie.  Click the image for a full size. 
In this image, one can see several items that I have worked on over the years. 
Blue oval: WFC3.  Red circle: ARUBA box.  The sight of this is of special pride for me.
Not visible are the SSR, the Cryocooler, the Diode Box, and ACS repair.

Close-up of the area around the ARUBA box. 
Here is more info on this unit.

Hubble Space Telescope Operational Assessment
Our post-mission assessment is that the performance of the Hubble Space Telescope has never been beter.  For the first time in our history, we have 6 beautifully functioning Science Instruments on HST.  Even the Early Release Observations, which are normally meant for the dazzle factor have new scientific discoveries in them (very deep red shift galaxies).  Here is an excerpt from one of our two instrument scientists:

Allow me to quote from the first paragraph from the conclusions section of Oesch et al paper:


The first observations with the WFC3/IR camera have demonstrated the amazing improvement over previous NIR instruments...........With NICMOS about 100 orbits were needed per z ~ 7 galaxy candidate found (Bouwens et al. 2009a); WFC3 is ~ 50 times more efficient and requires only 2.4 orbits per candidate (for fields with existing deep optical data). This remarkable ability to detect high red- shift galaxies extends to z > 8 (see Bouwens et al. 2009b)"

And there off!!!!!!!!!!!!

  Very well done everyone....John Mackenty

The team that developed the hardware for this past mission is very proud to see the way the mission and the performance of the telescope has turned out.  We consider this accomplishment a high point of our careers.  It has been a lot of work and long hours, but I admire the commitment of excellence of each of our team members.  It has been a pleasure working on this mission. 

As Dave Leckrone (HST project scientist) said in his speech during the celebration ceremonies, we still talk about Galileo's accomplishments.  He can foresee a hundred years from now, a young student learning about HST's accomplishments, and his or her mother will say to him that his great grandfather or grandmother worked on Hubble.  That leaves me with a profound sense of accomplishment.

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