Hubble Servicing Mission SM4
Status Report #2
After an exciting lift-off of the Space Shuttle Atlantis from Kennedy Space Center right on time, the orbiter Atlantis has started today its third SM4 mission day. The launch of SM4 was a particularly emotional event for the team as we are looking forward to seeing HST again back in the orbiter payload bay. The orbiter aerodynamic surfaces have been inspected with respect to possible launch debris damage. Atlantis is in good condition and assessments of the limited contact markings are in progress. The orbiter is executing the required thruster burns for approaching HST in preparation for grappling, scheduled for later today.
The necessary preparations on HST for grappling and subsequent berthing in the orbiter payload bay have also been successfully executed. The HST telescope door has been closed to avoid contamination of the optics and the two High Gain Antennas have been folded back to the telescope body. The ESA HST team has followed with great attention the two solar array wing positioning commands, first to 50 degrees and subsequently to 90 degrees. All commands have been successfully executed and the SADM motors positioned the wings properly into the grapple configuration. For grappling, the solar array drive electronics will be switched off as precaution to avoid unintentional operation of the solar array motors.
The HST ESA team has started its full 24 hours engineering support provision to NASA with two shifts of 12 hours each; the "orbit shift" (aligned with the astronauts / EVA crew active time) with Michael Eiden and Udo Rapp, and the "planning shift" (aligned with the functional checks and possible re-planning efforts during the EVA crew sleep time) composed of Lothar Gerlach and Manfred Schmid.
The "planning shift" has completed its first 12 hours and is now in its sleeping time. I am presently in the "orbit shift" at the STOCC (Space Telescope Operations Control Center) console, which started at 03:00 EDT. Our planning shift handover is scheduled for 15:00 EDT this afternoon. We follow the approach of the orbiter Atlantis to the HST live on overhead screens.
Summary: we are go for rendezvous with the telescope!
Prepared by Michael Eiden, 13 May 2009
Editor's note: The ESA HST team provides engineering support for the ESA hardware on the HST: the two Solar Array Drive Mechanisms (SADM), the Solar Array Drive Electronics (SADE), and the Drive Control Electronics (DCE).
The team comprises Michael Eiden (ESA HST Project Manager) and Lothar Gerlach from the technical directorate at ESA, and Udo Rapp and Manfred Schmid from EADS Astrium.