Transcripts of Hubble Legacy
I'm Kathy Thornton. I was a mission specialist on the first service mission on Hubble Space Telescope in 1993. It's amazing to me when I was flying in space, orbiting, that I could look back at the Earth and you don't see a lot of evidence that we're here, but yet those little tiny beings down on Earth that I can't see were smart enough to get me there. Voice: And then I'm going to pull in a little bit and we'll just communicate from here-- Kathy: We were not the most significant part. We might have been the most visible, but the real heroes of the service missions are the people who figure out how to do it. The people who came up with the fixes. Archive natural sound Probably use the existing MLI, come up with some type of cover that we will put on it and tape it in place-- Russ: My name is Russ Werneth. I've been involved with all five of the Hubble Servicing Missions. Back in 1993 when we did our first servicing mission, I was involved in designing all the tools that we use. Kathy: On that mission, we did five spacewalks. I did the second and the fourth one. On my spacewalks we put in a new solar array and we installed the COSTAR, which included the corrective optics for all the axial instruments in the bottom part of the telescope. Kathy: We think a lot about the engineering technology that goes into Hubble and makes it work, and the innovation and design that goes into the fixes for the Hubble and every new instrument that goes up in the Hubble. And those are pretty amazing, but the purpose of the Hubble is science. The purpose of Hubble is to help us learn about where we came from. About what happened before us in this universe. Kathy: Servicing the Hubble one more time is well worth the risk to the crew and to the vehicle and to the Hubble itself. Every time we touch it you know, we plan to make it better, but you could always make it worse. And so there's some risk to the telescope as well. Russ: When we plan for a servicing mission with the astronauts, we always ask ourselves the questions 'what if.' What if this tool were to fail? What if this procedure wouldn't work? And therefore we do all the training that's necessary. We have contingency tools, we have backup tools, we have backup procedures. There was a hand rail that had to be removed, and as much as we practiced on the ground with tools and procedures, that hand rail couldn't be removed because of one of the bolts. As Mike Massimino was working, in real time with his EVA, his spacewalk, we were working on the ground to figure out how we could solve that problem. And we went through several levels of contingency. Then ultimately, it came down to just using brute force on that hand rail to get that bolt to break. And we've essentially been able to leave a new telescope every time we finish up a servicing mission. Kathy: I have a picture on my wall of the first Hubble Deep Field photos, where Hubble was pointed at place in the sky where there wasn't anything. But imagine that you could look through a straw or a pinhole and find a place in the sky where there's absolutely nothing, and know that there are millions of galaxies in that little pinhole that you're looking at. I think more than anything else Hubble is an icon of science, of exploration, and of the things we as humans can do.