Space shuttle Atlantis yesterday deployed its robotic arm to successfully capture the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA reports. Atlantis grapples Hubble. Pic: NASA At the controls for the "grapple" (see pic) was mission specialist Megan McArthur, who grabbed the venerable eye in the sky at 17:14 GMT before manoeuvring it onto a " …
Better safe than sorry (guilty pleasure)
"On the ground, NASA continues to examine images of Atlantis's thermal protection tiles. Although mission managers have declared them "safe for re-entry", the shuttle's crew was earlier today told that "imagery from scans of the underbelly and scans of the crew cabin did not sufficiently overlap"."
Bugger it, I say send Endeavour up, see which one's most fit for purpose and leave the other one up there - or de-orbit it on autopilot (which they can do). Nothing to lose anymore, it's Atlantis' last mission! I wanna see two shuttles tethered!!!
>I wanna see two shuttles tethered!!!
Where to begin...
Hmm, I wonder if they have already decided "not safe for entry" but are avoiding a public cry to send Endeavour up to bring them back before they've completed work on hubble by saying that they are "still analysing".
Heat-shield damage isn't a threat while up with hubble, so even if the damage is critical, complete the work and then send up Endeavour.
Endeavour is damaged on the way up to rescue them?
It's not Atlantis' last mission, it's scheduled for STS129 in November and STS131 in February next year.
Isn't Endeavour prep'ed for an ISS mission on 13th June? So worse case it could do a ferry down to the ISS and then request a Russian taxi for everyone up there...
having another quiet day? how many cowherds are there?
yeah well done nasa, time to scrap the bloody thing....
Then you hope that the remaining reaction mass aboard the two shuttles is enough to get one of them to the ISS, or the repair kits of the two shuttles are enough to repair one.
The Shuttle doesn't have enough fuel to change orbit from the current HST rendezvous to that of the ISS.
But by the sounds of this the damage looks to be superficial and in an area not especially exposed to very high temperatures during re-entry. It's worth remembering that many, if not most, Shuttle flights have had tile damage; we're only hearing more about it post Columbia.
@AC 14th May 2009 09:35 GMT
Actually, your reasoning isn't that far off from the Apollo 12 controllers in 1969.
Apollo 12 launched in a thunderstorm and, as the booster cleared the tower, it took two lightning strikes (iirc); after reaching Earth orbit safely, the main concern of Mission Control was that the strikes may have fritzed the switches controlling the explosive bolts responsible for separating the Command Module from the Service Module prior to re-entry, and for kicking open the cans holding the parachutes on descent.
Houston went ahead and sent A12 on to the Moon, deciding that if the "pyros" were indeed hosed, they'd be just as dead if they tried to bring them back right then as they'd be if they re-entered after returning from the Moon.
Of course, as we all know, things worked out OK for Apollo 12.
Clip of Hubble footage
This clip contains some cool shots from the astronauts' helmet cams, as well as some in-depth information about the operation:
Didn't they practice fixing tiles a few missions back?
OK, the robot cameras can't get a good look, time to send a human! They're doing spacewalks, they've gone and looked close-up at tiles in a spacewalk in previous missions. Why aren't they doing it now?
All the radio chatter on liftoff about some reasonably serious faults is also a bit odd.
Something fishy is going on here...
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