Status Report

STS-125 MCC Status Report #06 – Thursday, May 14, 2009 – 4:00 a.m. CDT

By SpaceRef Editor
May 14, 2009
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Mission Specialists John Grunsfeld and Drew Feustel are now just hours away from beginning the first of five spacewalks of Atlantis’ mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. The crew awoke this morning to “Stickshifts and Safetybelts” performed by Cake. It was played for Feustel.

Today’s spacewalk is set to begin at 7:16 a.m. CDT and will last 6.5 hours. Grunsfeld will be the first astronaut to exit the shuttle’s air lock and will begin preparations in Atlantis’ payload bay. Feustel will exit a few minutes later and will make his way onto Atlantis’ robotic arm. Mission Specialist Megan McArthur will operate the arm while Feustel performs his activities outside the shuttle.

The first task for Grunsfeld and Feustel is the removal of the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 and the installation of Wide Field Camera 3. The new camera weighs almost 900 pounds and measures 2 feet tall by 6 feet wide by 7 feet long. It will be Hubble’s first panchromatic camera and will allow astronomers to observe galaxy evolution, dark matter and dark energy.

The next task is to replace the Science Instrument Command and Data Handling Unit (SCI&DH) with a ground spare. The SCI&DH allows Hubble’s science instruments to send and receive data, and it experienced a failure in September of last year. Commanding was switched over to the unit’s back-up channel, but the new SCI&DH will restore full redundancy.

Feustel and Grunsfeld also will install the Soft Capture Mechanism (SCM) on the bottom of the telescope. This will allow future spacecraft to rendezvous and berth with the telescope.

The final task of the spacewalk will be the installation of three Latch Over Center Kits (LOCKS). This will make it easier on the mission’s other spacewalks for the astronauts to open and close Hubble’s large access doors. At the end of the day, the entire crew will review procedures for the mission’s second spacewalk, which will be conducted by Mike Good and Mike Massimino tomorrow.

The crew will enter its sleep period at 7:31 p.m. and will awake at 3:31 a.m. The next status report will be issued at the end of the crew’s day or earlier, if events warrant.

SpaceRef staff editor.