As the Space Shuttle Atlantis astronauts release the repaired Hubble Telescope back into it’s orbit, the repairs they performed on it will make it last another five to ten years. Hubble was launched on April 25, 1990 with a projected lifetime of 15 years.Since then, it has sent back incredible pictures, opening windows in space that could never have been imagined before. You can see some of these pictures here.
As for how it was repaired, more amazing technology. To send individuals to space, to connect with a floating object, to connect it to the shuttle, spacewalk to do the repairs and relaunch it takes an incredible amount of technology. During the mission, the four spacewalkers, two per team, managed to fix two science instruments that had broken down years ago and were never meant to be tinkered with in orbit. They also replaced a faltering science data-handling device and installed a docking ring so a robotic craft can latch on and steer the telescope into the Pacific sometime in the early 2020s. To read more on the Hubble Space Telescope, visit http://hubblesite.org/
This will be the last time the Hubble Space Telescope will be repaired. Hubble’s replacement, the James Webb Space Telescope, will be launched in 2014 by an unmanned rocket and placed in an orbit inaccessible to astronauts.
A lot of this technology is lost on the younger people today, but it is incredible how all of this can be done. It’s amazing how far we’ve come. One of the best clips I’ve seen on this was when Louis CK was on Conan O’Brien. You can watch it here. You’ll enjoy it.
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