Veteran astronaut Scott D. Altman commanded the final space shuttle mission to Hubble. Retired Navy Capt. Gregory C. Johnson served as pilot. Mission specialists included veteran spacewalkers John M. Grunsfeld and Michael J. Massimino and first-time space fliers Andrew J. Feustel, Michael T. Good and K. Megan McArthur.
Atlantis’ astronauts repaired and upgraded the Hubble Space Telescope, conducting five spacewalks during their mission to extend the life of the orbiting observatory. They successfully installed two new instruments and repaired two others, bringing them back to life, replaced gyroscopes and batteries, and added new thermal insulation panels to protect the orbiting observatory. The result is six working, complementary science instruments with capabilities beyond what was available and an extended operational lifespan until at least 2014.
With the newly installed Wide Field Camera, Hubble will be able to observe in ultraviolet and infrared spectrums as well as visible light, peer deep onto the cosmic frontier in search of the earliest star systems and study planets in the solar system. The telescope’s new Cosmic Origins Spectrograph will allow it to study the grand-scale structure of the universe, including the star-driven chemical evolution that produce carbon and the other elements necessary for life.
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