STS-109 Mission Journal  

STS-109 Mission Journal - Part 2

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Space Shuttle Columbia streaks though the pre-dawn clouds over Kennedy Space Center. Photo courtesy of NASA. Shuttle Columbia returns to space on mission STS-109 to service the Hubble Space Telescope!

STS-109 Mission Patch. NASA image.

LEFT: STS-109 liftoff from Florida's Kennedy Space Center on Friday, March 1st.
RIGHT: Mission Patch.

Coverage of Columbia's flight continues at Part 3 of the STS-109 Mission Journal.


  • 08 March 2002 - Evening Update - Flight Day 9 is underway. Today's activities will include the release of the Hubble Telescope back to its own orbit. Columbia's robotic arm will unberth the giant observatory from the orbiter's payload bay early Saturday morning. NASA reports:

    Busy Weekend in Space
    NASA image of an astronaut on the Shuttle's robotic arm, next to the HST in the payload bay. As the astronauts aboard Columbia wrap-up the successful Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission, they will take some time to talk to students about their work in space. The newly refurbished Hubble will be released from the grip of the Space Shuttle early tomorrow to return to its work of discovery.
    Meanwhile, NASA's second of three enhanced Tracking and Data Relay Satellites-I (TDRS-I), is scheduled to launch Friday afternoon aboard an Atlas IIA rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The launch window extends from 5:39 p.m. to 6:19 p.m. EST.
    Closer to Earth, the STS-109 crew is scheduled to talk to students at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science on Sunday. The students are part of the NASA Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy (SEMAA). The program uses NASA resources to expose historically under-represented youth to the fields of science and technology. Tune in to see the event live on the Web. Columbia is scheduled to land Tuesday at the Kennedy Space Center.
    Watch NASA TV to see coverage of a ship-to-ship communication between Space Shuttle Columbia and the International Space Station. The conversation is slated to begin at 2:15 a.m. CST [3:15AM EST/0815 GMT] Sunday. Then at 6:47 a.m. CST [7:47AM EST/1247 GMT] Sunday, the STS-109 crew will participate in interviews with WABC Radio, KARE-TV and the CBS Radio Network. NASA TV Schedule

    Flight Day 7 images are now available in the NASA Gallery.


  • 08 March - Afternoon Update - Last EVA complete - The fifth and final spacewalk of this mission is done. Only two other missions (both of them Hubble flights) have had this many EVAs, and no Shuttle flight has had more time outside than this one! NASA reports:

    Astronauts Complete Space Walking Work on Hubble Telescope
    STS-109 space walkers (from left) Rick Linnehan and John Grunsfeld on EVA5. NASA image.The STS-109 crew successfully completed its fifth space walk to service the Hubble Space Telescope at 10:06 a.m. CST (1606 GMT) today. Space walkers Rick Linnehan and John Grunsfeld installed an experimental cooling system onto the telescope’s Near-Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer, or NICMOS.
    During the 7-hour, 20-minute space walk, Linnehan and Grunsfeld received assistance from inside Space Shuttle Columbia. The primary robotic arm operator was Mission Specialist Nancy Currie. Mission Specialists Jim Newman and Mike Massimino coordinated the space walk’s activities, and Commander Scott Altman and Pilot Duane Carey documented the extravehicular activity with still images and video. Altman also spent some time operating the robot arm.
    Beginning at 11:18 a.m. CST [12:18PM EST/1718 GMT], Altman and Carey performed a reboost of Hubble’s orbit. They fired Columbia's jets in a series of pulses for 36 minutes, raising the telescope's orbit by 6.4 kilometers (4 statute miles).
    The seven crewmembers ended their day at 1:52 p.m. CST [2:52PM EST/1952 GMT] and will awaken to begin flight day 9 at 9:52 p.m. CST [10:52PM EST Friday/0352 GMT Saturday].

    It will take a weeks before the cryo-cooler can chill the NICMOS instrument to the extreme cold required for it to "see". Tomorrow, Hubble will be released back into its own orbit.

    Flight Day 7 videos are now available in the NASA Spaceflight Gallery.


  • 08 March 2002 - EVA # 5, the last spacewalk of this mission, is underway. NASA reports:

    Astronauts Installing Experimental Camera Cooling System
    The STS-109 crew aboard Columbia is performing its fifth space walk to service and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope Friday morning. The primary objective of this excursion, conducted by Mission Specialists John Grunsfeld and Rick Linnehan, is the installation of an experimental cooling system onto Hubble's Near-Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS).
    The space walk began at 3:46 a.m. EST (0846 GMT) and is slated to wrap up about 10:16 a.m. EST (1516 GMT) today.
    The next major task for the STS-109 crew today is a reboost of the Hubble’s orbit. Columbia's jets will fire in a series of pulses to raise the telescope's orbit by 6 kilometers (3.7 statute miles).

    Flight Day 8 images are now available in the NASA Spaceflight Gallery.

 

  • 07 March 2002 - Evening Update - Flight Day 8 is here, and soon the last EVA of this mission will begin. This one is an attempt to revive the dormant NICMOS instrument. What is NICMOS, you say? No, it's not a Greek diner - it is an infrared camera that must be super-cooled to operate. The cooling system gave out in 1999, but the instrument can be salvaged with the installation of an experimental electronics package and cryo-cooler - and that's COOL! NASA reports:

    Astronauts to Install Camera Cooling System During Space Walk
    Mission Specialist Jim Newman rides Space Shuttle Columbia's robot arm during the mission's fourth space walk to service the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA image. The STS-109 crew will perform its fifth space walk to service and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope Friday morning. The primary objective of this excursion, which will be conducted by Mission Specialists John Grunsfeld and Rick Linnehan, is the installation of an experimental cooling system onto Hubble's Near-Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS). The space walk is scheduled to start at 2:22 a.m. CST [3:22AM EST/0822 GMT].
    NICMOS operates at extremely low temperatures, but it has been dormant since 1999 when its coolant was depleted earlier than expected. It is hoped that the cooling system will allow NICMOS to come back online.
    Following the space walk, Altman and Carey will fire Columbia's jets in a series of pulses to raise the telescope's orbit by 6 kilometers (3.7 statute miles).

    Flight Day 7 videos and images are up at NASA's SM3B site.


  • 07 March - Afternoon Update - As of 11:15AM EST (1415 GMT), the spacewalkers have returned to Columbia's airlock, having swapped out the veteran Faint Object Camera for the refrigerator-sized Advanced Camera for SurveysNASA reports:

    Space Walkers Install Advanced Camera for Surveys
    STS-109 Mission Specialist Jim Newman in Columbia's cargo bay during EVA2. NASA photo.During STS-109’s fourth space walk, the STS-109 crew increased the Hubble Space Telescope’s science capability with the installation of the Advanced Camera for Surveys, which is also known as ACS. Space walkers Jim Newman and Mike Massimino wrapped up the 7-hour, 30-minute excursion at 10:30 a.m. CST [11:30AM EST/1630 GMT]. Prior to installing the ACS, they removed the last of Hubble’s original science instruments, the Faint Object Camera.
    NASA image of STS-109 Mission Specialist Mike Massimino during EVA #2Other activities for the Newman and Massimino included the installation of an Electronic Support Module for a new experimental cooling device for Hubble’s Near-Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer. Mission Specialists John Grunsfeld and Rick Linnehan will install the cooling device during STS-109’s fifth space walk, beginning at 1:52 a.m. CST [2:52AM EST/0752 GMT] Friday.
    The seven crewmembers' sleep period began at 2:52 p.m. CST [3:52PM EST/1952 GMT], and they will awaken to begin flight day 8 at 9:52 p.m. CST [10:52PM EST] tonight (0352 GMT Friday).

    The new camera will be able to see 10 times farther into deep space than its predecessor.

    Flight Day 6 videos and images are now available in the NASA Spaceflight Gallery.


  • 07 March 2002 - We are into the fourth EVA now, which began at 4AM EST (0900 GMT). The first three spacewalks gave Hubble increased power capability; this one will give Hubble stronger optical capability. NASA reports:

    Fourth Space Walk Under Way
    NASA image of STS-109 Mission Specialist Mike MassiminoColumbia Astronauts Jim Newman and Mike Massimino are conducting a space walk to service the Hubble Space Telescope. Their objective is to install a new camera to upgrade the Hubble's science capability.
    [The] astronauts successfully installed the Advanced Camera for Surveys in the Hubble Space Telescope early Thursday. [The two] slid the new, powerful instrument into the slot from which they had removed the Faint Object Camera earlier. The Faint Object Camera is the last instrument launched aboard the orbiting observatory to be replaced.
    As Space Shuttle Columbia orbits the Earth in darkness, STS-109 Mission Specialist Mike Massimino works inside the payload bay at the start of the mission's fourth space walk to service the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA image.Newman and Massimino are receiving support from inside Space Shuttle Columbia. Mission Specialist Nancy Currie is operating Columbia's robot arm, and Mission Specialists Rick Linnehan and John Grunsfeld are choreographing the space walk's activities. The space walk is slated to wrap up about 9:30 a.m. CST [10:30AM EST/1530 GMT] today.

    Follow the play-by-play at the links at top right, and watch NASA TV.

 

  • 06 March 2002 - Evening Update - Flight Day 7 has begun, and it's time to go outside yet again. NASA reports:

    STS-109 Space Walkers to Install New Camera onto Telescope
    NASA image of astronaut Newman in shuttle cargo bay during second spacewalk on this missionThe STS-109 crew will perform the fourth space walk in as many days Thursday morning. The primary object of this space walk, which is slated to begin at 2:22 a.m. CST [3:22AM EST/0822 GMT] Thursday, is to upgrade the science capabilities of the telescope. Space walkers Jim Newman and Mike Massimino will replace the Faint Object Camera with the Advanced Camera for Surveys, which is also known as the ACS. The Faint Object Camera is the last of Hubble's original instruments.
    They also will install an Electronic Support Module for a new experimental cooling device for Hubble's Near-Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer. The cooling device will be installed Friday during the mission's fifth space walk.
    During Thursday's space walk, Newman and Massimino will receive support from inside Space Shuttle Columbia. Mission Specialist Nancy Currie will operate Columbia's robot arm, and Mission Specialists Rick Linnehan and John Grunsfeld will choreograph the space walk's activities.
    The spacewalk, expected to last about 6 and one-half hours, will be broadcast live on NASA Television and NASA TV on the Web.

    Flight Day 6 videos and images are up at NASA's SM3B site.


  • 06 March - Afternoon Update - An eventful Flight Day 6 comes to a close. NASA reports:

    STS-109 Crew Replaces Hubble's Power Control Unit
    Mission Specialist John Grunsfeld (left) prepares the end of Space Shuttle Columbia's robot arm for Mission Specialist Rick Linnehan (right foreground), who will be attached to it during STS-109's third space walk. NASA image.The STS-109 crew successfully replaced the Hubble Space Telescope’s Power Control Unit during the mission’s third space walk this morning. Mission Specialists John Grunsfeld and Rick Linnehan began their excursion outside Space Shuttle Columbia at 2:28 a.m. CST (0828 GMT) and wrapped it up at 9:16 a.m. CST (1516 GMT).
    In order for Grunsfeld and Linnehan to replace the unit, Hubble was powered down for the first time in its history at 3:37 a.m. CST (0937 GMT). It was successfully turned back on at 8:02 a.m. CST (1402 GMT) after the installation of the new Power Control Unit.
    Mission Specialist Nancy Currie operated the shuttle’s robot arm, and Mission Specialists Jim Newman and Mike Massimino coordinated the space walk. Newman and Massimino are scheduled to perform the mission’s fourth space walk Thursday morning, starting at about 2:30 a.m. CST (0830 GMT).
    The seven crewmembers have ended their workday and are scheduled to awaken at 9:52 p.m. CST Wednesday.

    The astronauts sent spectacular images back to the ground via their helmet-cams. Keep watching NASA TV!

    Flight Day 5 images are now available in the NASA Spaceflight Gallery.


  • 06 March - Morning Update - It's Alive! - EVA 3 is complete, and astronauts Grunsfeld and Linnehan have successfully replaced Hubble's aging Power Control Unit, a procedure which was never intended to be done on-orbit. The HST was powered down for the first time since it was first deployed in 1990, and the spacewalkers had to race against the clock to make sure that the delicate electronics inside Hubble did not cool down too much. NASA reports:

    New Power Unit is Working
    Today's spacewalk, which began at 2:28 a.m., is being conducted by John Grunsfeld and Rick Linnehan. Grunsfeld and Linnehan also conducted the first of five scheduled spacewalks for this mission.
    STS-109 Mission Specialist Jim Newman's reflection is visible on the side of the Hubble Space Telescope as he makes his way down to Space Shuttle Columbia's payload bay during STS-109's second space walk. This image was captured from footage taken by Newman's helmet-cam. Pic courtesy of NASA.About 5 1/2 hours into today's spacewalk to install a new power control unit, the Hubble Space Telescope's heartbeat was restored at 8:02 a.m. central time. That heartbeat indicated that telemetry from the telescope was being received on the ground, allowing commands to be sent to the Hubble.
    At 8:41 a.m. ground controllers at the Space Telescope Operations Control Center confirmed that aliveness tests of the new power control unit were successful. They will now begin the lengthy process of restoring power to each of the Hubble's various components.

    Rick Linnehan, like many astronauts, has a title of "Doctor" - but unlike any of them, he is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine! His experience performing surgery on walruses and tigers came in handy during today's tricky operation.


  • 06 March 2002 - A spacesuit had to be swapped out, causing EVA #3 to get off to a late start, but repair operations on the now-dormant Hubble Space Telescope are in full swing. NASA reports:

    STS-109 Crew Begins Space Walk to Replace Power Control Unit
    STS-109 Mission Specialists Rick Linnehan, left, and John Grunsfeld during EVA 3. NASA photo.STS-109's third space walk is under way. Astronauts John Grunsfeld and Rick Linnehan began the excursion at 2:28 a.m. CST [3:28AM EST/0828 GMT] today. The start of the space walk was delayed due to a water leak in Grunsfeld's spacesuit. Mission managers decided to have Grunsfeld change into another spacesuit and press ahead with the space walk's objective of replacing the Hubble Space Telescope's Power Control Unit, or PCU.
    Controllers at the Space Telescope Operations Control Center in Green Belt, Md., will power down Hubble for the first time ever to enable Grunsfeld and Linnehan to replace the PCU. Hubble will be powered back up after the new PCU is installed.
    The space walkers will be assisted from inside Space Shuttle Columbia by Mission Specialists Nancy Currie, Mike Massimino and Jim Newman. Currie will maneuver Columbia's robot arm, and Massimino and Newman will choreograph the space walk's activities. Commander Scott Altman and Pilot Duane Carey will document the excursion with still photos and video. The space walk is now slated to wrap up about 9:30 a.m. CST [10:30AM EST/1530 GMT] today.

    Flight Day 5 videos are now available in the NASA Spaceflight Gallery. Also, the SM3B site has videos and images from Flight Day 5.


 

  • 05 March 2002 - Evening Update - Flight Day 6 is underway, and the astronauts are getting ready for the third, and most difficult, of their Hubble spacewalking tasks. NASA reports:

    Third Hubble Space Walk Set for Late Tonight
    John Grunsfeld offers a hearty thumbs-up to his crewmates near the end of the first space walk.. NASA photo.The astronauts of Space Shuttle Mission STS-109 will head into space late tonight to continue refurbishing work on the Hubble Space Telescope. Mission Specialists John Grunsfeld (pictured) and Rick Linnehan will exit the airlock at about 12:27 a.m. EST tomorrow morning (0527 GMT Wednesday). Tonight's spacewalk, expected to last about seven hours, will require the crew to power down the telescope in order to replace Hubble’s Power Control Unit.
    Extravehicular activity preparations have begun aboard Columbia, as astronauts Grunsfeld and Linnehan prepare to don their spacesuits. Meanwhile, Hubble Space Telescope ground controllers will begin sending commands to turn off the observatory for the first time ever at 10:30 p.m. CST [12:30PM EST/1630 GMT]. The telescope is planned to be powered off for almost seven hours as Grunsfeld and Linnehan replace the core of its power system.
    You can follow developments and see the spectacular images live on NASA Television and NASA TV on the Web.

    Flight Day 4 videos and images are now available in the NASA Spaceflight Gallery.


  • 05 March - Afternoon Update - EVA #2 is complete, and now Hubble has a matched set of brandy-new solar arrays. NASA reports:

    New Port Solar Array Installed on Hubble
    NASA image of STS-109 Mission Specialist Jim NewmanSTS-109 Astronauts Mike Massimino and Jim Newman wrapped up the mission’s second space walk at 7:56 a.m. CST [8:56AM EST/1356 GMT] today. During the 7-hour, 16-minute excursion, they successfully replaced the Hubble Space Telescope’s port solar array with a new-generation solar array. They also added its associated electrical components. The starboard array was replaced during STS-109's first space walk Monday morning. The new arrays are smaller and will provide more power.
    Up next for Massimino and Newman was the replacement of a Reaction Wheel Assembly, or RWA, in Hubble. The telescope has four RWAs that serve as pointing devices. During the extravehicular activity, Mission Specialist Nancy Currie operated Columbia’s robot arm, and Mission Specialist John Grunsfeld choreographed the space walk.
    NASA photo of STS-109 Mission Specialist Mike MassiminoFollowing the installation of a new solar array and reaction wheel assembly, Newman and Massimino were given approval to proceed with a test of latches on the shroud --or door--that houses two of Hubble's observing instruments, and to install some additional insulating material on one portion of the telescope.
    The astronauts' sleep period began today at 11:52 a.m. CST [12:52PM EST/1752 GMT] and they will be awakened at 7:52 p.m. CST tonight [8:52PM EST Tuesday/0152 GMT Wednesday] to begin flight day 6.
    Three more STS-109 space walks are on tap to service Hubble. Grunsfeld and Mission Specialist Rick Linnehan are slated to begin the next EVA at 11:27 p.m. CST today [12:27AM EST/0527 GMT Wednesday]. They will replace Hubble’s Power Control Unit.

    Up next: the risky Power Unit upgrade. More Flight Day 4 images are now available in the NASA Spaceflight Gallery.


  • 05 March 2002 - We are well into Flight Day 5, and the second spacewalk is in progress. NASA reports:

    STS-109's Second Space Walk Under Way
    The STS-109 crew began the mission's second space walk at 12:40 a.m. [1:40AM EST/0640 GMT] today. The space walkers' objectives are to install a new port solar array and a Reaction Wheel Assembly on the Hubble Space Telescope.
    Watch NASA TV to see coverage of STS-109’s second of five space walks. NASA TV Schedule

    EVA #2 should last about 6.5 hours. CNN has an interview with mission commander Scott Altman.


 

  • 04 March 2002 - Evening Update - Flight Day 5 began at 8:53PM EST (1353 GMT), and it's time for another spacewalkNASA reports:

    STS-109 Crew to Replace Port Array During Second Space Walk
    The STS-109 crew will continue its servicing work on the Hubble Space Telescope when Mission Specialists Jim Newman and Mike Massimino perform the mission's second space walk, beginning at 12:27 a.m. CST (0627 GMT) Tuesday.
    The objectives of the second extravehicular activity, or EVA, are the replacement of Hubble's port-side solar array and one of the telescope's four Reaction Wheel Assemblies. The old array will be replaced by a new-generation array that is smaller and will provide more power. The starboard array was replaced during STS-109's first space walk Monday morning. The two space walkers will also prepare for the mission's upcoming space walks by installing foot restraints and removing Bay 5's thermal cover.
    Mission Specialist Nancy Currie will operate the shuttle's robotic arm to assist the space walkers. The EVA is slated to last almost seven hours.

    Flight Day 4 videos and images are up at NASA's SM3B site.


  • 04 March - Afternoon Update - Flight Day 4 draws to a close, and the first spacewalk, to replace one of Hubble's two solar panels, is complete. NASA reports:

    Space Walkers Install a New Hubble Solar Array
    Mission Specialist John Grunsfeld (upper right) does prep work as Mission Specialist Rick Linnehan closes the thermal cover on Space Shuttle Columbia's airlock at the start of STS-109's first space walk. NASA image. On Monday, during the first of five STS-109 space walks, Mission Specialists John Grunsfeld and Rick Linnehan successfully replaced the Hubble Space Telescope's starboard solar array. The new array will provide more power and reduce the rate at which the telescope's orbit decays. They also installed the new solar array's electrical support components and did some setup work for the four remaining space walks.
    Assisting Grunsfeld and Linnehan from inside Space Shuttle Columbia were Mission Specialists Nancy Currie and Jim Newman. Currie operated the shuttle’s robotic arm, and Newman choreographed the spacewalk.
    The crew will spend the rest of the day cleaning up after today's spacewalk and will conduct a review of procedures for tomorrow's spacewalk before beginning a scheduled nine-hour sleep shift just before noon.
    Then the seven astronauts will turn their attention to the mission’s second space walk, which will be conducted by Newman and Mission Specialist Mike Massimino and is slated to begin at 12:27 a.m. CST (0627 GMT) Tuesday. They will replace Hubble’s port-side array.
    STS-109 Ask the MCC Answers

    The EVA ended at 8:38AM EST (1338 GMT) Monday, lasting 7hrs 1min. The crew began their sleep period at 12:52AM EST (1752 GMT) and will be awakened to begin Flight Day 5 at 8:52PM EST (0152 GMT Tuesday). Preliminary tests of the new solar "wing" were successfully conducted about 8:20AM EST today. The second solar array will be installed during EVA #2 by Jim Newman and Mike Massimino, slated to begin shortly before 1:30AM EST (0630 GMT) Tuesday.


  • 04 March - Morning Update - EVA 1 complete - As of 8:30AM EST (1330 GMT), two of Columbia's crewmen are back in the airlock, having successfully completed the first spacewalk of STS-109. The duo replaced one of Hubble's two solar panels with a newer model. NASA reports:

    First Spacewalk Complete
    NASA image of first-time spacewalker Rick Linnehan.NASA astronauts John Grunsfeld and Richard Linehan completed the first spacewalk of the STS-109 mission on Monday morning. The two spent approximately seven hours outside the space shuttle, installing a new solar array on the Hubble Space Telescope and stowing the old one for return to Earth.
    The first tests of the solar array's "aliveness" were successful. The STS-109 crew will perform five spacewalks in five consecutive days to service the telescope. Grunsfeld and Richard Linnehan will also conduct the third and fifth spacewalks. James Newman and Michael Massimino will perform the second and fourth spacewalks.

    The other solar panel will be replaced during tomorrow's spacewalk.

    Flight Day 3 videos and images are up at NASA's SM3B site.


  • 04 March - Early Morning Update - EVA 1 underway - The first spacewalk to upgrade the HST began this morning at 1:37AM EST (0637 GMT). This is Rick Linnehan's first time as a spacewalker, where John Grunsfeld has done this before on previous Hubble servicing missions. Nancy Currie will operate the Shuttle's robot arm, which will serve as a mobile work platform. 


  • 04 March 2002 - We're in the middle of Flight Day 4. Astronauts Grunsfeld and Linnehan are getting their spacesuits on, and expect to start the first spacewalk of the mission at around 1:20AM EST (0620 GMT). NASA reports:

    STS-109 Astronauts to Conduct First Space Walk to Service Hubble
    NASA image of the Hubble Space Telescope taken from Columbia.Monday morning, the STS-109 crew will conduct the first of five space walks that will be performed to service the Hubble Space Telescope. Mission Specialists John Grunsfeld and Rick Linnehan are slated to begin the excursion at 12:27 a.m. CST (0627 GMT) Monday.
    Their major objective will be the replacement of Hubble's starboard solar array. The old array will be stowed in Space Shuttle Columbia's payload bay. They will also install the array's associated electrical support components, called a Diode Box Assembly, and do some prep work for the mission's other space walks.
    Grunsfeld and Linnehan will receive assistance from Mission Specialist Nancy Currie, the shuttle's robot arm operator. Commander Scott Altman and Duane Carey will document the space walkers' activities with video and still images.

    EVA #1 is scheduled to last 6.5 hours. Follow the action on NASA TV, and read play-by-play at the links at top right.

 

  • 03 March 2002 - Evening Update - Flight Day 4 has begun, with the Shuttle crew getting their wake-up call shortly before 9PM EST Sunday (0200 GMT Monday). NASA reports:


    Crew to Conduct First STS-109 Space Walk

    The crew onboard Columbia got a jump on its day when Mission Control sent up the wake-up call a few minutes early to avoid a communications drop out.
    Spacewalkers John Grunsfeld and Rick Linnehan are getting ready for a routine private medical conference with their doctor on the ground. They're scheduled to float outside the hatch at about 12:30 a.m. CST [1:30AM EST/0630 GMT] Monday, but could leave the confines of the shuttle as much as an hour early.
    Today's spacewalk will feature the replacement of the first of two solar arrays. The new smaller, and stronger third-generation solar arrays will improve the power efficiency of the Hubble Space Telescope.
    All five space walks will occur on consecutive days. Work during the other four will include installation of another solar array, replacement of a Power Control Unit, installation of the new Advanced Camera for Surveys, and installation of a Cryogenic Cooler and its Cooling System Radiator for the Near-Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer.

    Eleven days, two teams, five spacewalks, major surgery at 17,000 miles per hour - how cool is that?!?  Follow the action on NASA TV, and read play-by-play at the links at top right.


  • 03 March 2002 - Afternoon Update - On-orbit operations continue, with the Hubble Space Telescope now settled in Columbia's payload bay. The astronauts are in their sleep period now, having completed Flight Day 3. NASA reports:

    STS-109 Captures Hubble and Retracts Solar Arrays
    The Hubble Space Telescope hovers over Space Shuttle Columbia's payload bay as the shuttle crew prepares to grapple it. NASA image.Space Shuttle Columbia arrived at its destination, the Hubble Space Telescope, early Sunday. At 3:31 a.m. CST [4:31AM EST/0931 GMT] Sunday, STS-109 Mission Specialist Nancy Currie used Columbia's robot arm to capture Hubble. She later placed it into the orbiter's payload bay to set the stage for the five space walks that the STS-109 crew will perform to service and upgrade the telescope.
    The crew then set about retracting Hubble's two solar arrays. The motors that drive the two arrays had not been used since the panels were originally deployed during the first servicing mission in December 1993. The motors performed flawlessly, taking approximately five minutes to retract each of the two arrays.
    Following a goodnight call from Mission Control, Columbia's crew began a scheduled eight-hour sleep period just before noon. They will awaken about 8 p.m. [9PM EST/1400 GMT] to prepare for the first of five scheduled spacewalks for this mission. John Grunsfeld and Rick Linnehan will perform the spacewalk which is slated to begin at 12:30 a.m. [1:30AM EST/0630 GMT] Monday, but could begin up to one hour early.
    During the planned 6 1/2 hour excursion, Grunsfeld and Linnehan will install the first of two new-generation solar panels on the telescope. The new panels are smaller than the current solar arrays but will generate increased power for the orbiting observatory.

    Flight Day 3 images are now available in the NASA Spaceflight Gallery.


  • 03 March - Morning Update - Hubble Captured! - Columbia's robot arm, operated by space veteran Nancy Curriegrappled the HST and gently placed it into the cargo bay in preparation for 5 back-to-back spacewalks this week. NASA reports:

    STS-109 Captures Hubble; Crew to Conduct First Space Walk Monday
    Space Shuttle Columbia's robot arm (upper right) moves the Hubble Space Telescope into position for placement in the orbiter's payload bay as the two spacecraft soar over the northern African coast. NASA image.Space Shuttle Columbia arrived at its destination, the Hubble Space Telescope, early Sunday. At 3:31 a.m. CST (0931 GMT) Sunday, STS-109 Mission Specialist Nancy Currie used Columbia's robot arm to capture Hubble. She later placed it into the orbiter's payload bay to set the stage for the five space walks that the STS-109 crew will perform to service and upgrade the telescope.
    NASA image of the HST.Mission Specialists John Grunsfeld and Rick Linnehan are scheduled to begin the mission's first space walk at 12:27 a.m. CST (0627 GMT) Monday. They will install a new solar array onto Hubble.
    All five space walks will occur on consecutive days. Work during the other four will include installation of another solar array, replacement of a Power Control Unit, installation of the new Advanced Camera for Surveys, and installation of a Cryogenic Cooler and its Cooling System Radiator for the Near-Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer.

    Here's some "Hubble Hits" from The Houston Chronicle. What wonders will the improved model reveal?


  • 03 March 2002 - Flight Day 3 is underway. Here's today's timeline from NASA:

    The final phase of the rendezvous with Hubble will begin at 1 a.m. Central on Sunday. Commander Scott Altman will take manual control of the approach about 2:30 a.m., as the shuttle closes within a half mile of Hubble. At about 3:13 a.m., astronaut Nancy Currie will use Columbia's robotic arm to capture the telescope as the shuttle flies 350 miles above the Pacific, east of Australia.

    Central Time (CST) = Eastern Time (EST) - 1;
    Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) = EST + 5.

    Flight Day 2 videos are up at NASA Goddard's SM3B site.


 

  • 02 March 2002 - Evening Update - With all gear checked and ready, Columbia is closing in on the Hubble Space Telescope. The crew will awaken at 8:52PM EST (1352 GMT) and begin the final phase of a rendezvous with the orbiting observatory at about 2AM EST (0700 GMT) Sunday. Astronaut Nancy Currie is planned to capture the telescope with the shuttle's robotic arm at about 4:14AM (0914 GMT) Sunday. NASA reports:

    Managers Confirm Cooling System OK; Crew to Complete Mission
    As Columbia's crew completed preparations Saturday for the capture of the Hubble Space Telescope, mission managers confirmed that a degraded shuttle cooling system will pose no problems for Columbia's flight.
    Following an extensive analysis, managers determined that, although operating at a lower capacity, the system in question still provides sufficient cooling for shuttle equipment and Columbia can proceed with the capture and rejuvenation of the Hubble Space Telescope. The STS-109 crew -- Commander Scott Altman, Pilot Duane Carey, and Mission Specialists Nancy Currie, Jim Newman, Rick Linnehan, John Grunsfeld and Mike Massimino -- prepared for Sunday morning's planned rendezvous and capture of the orbiting observatory.

    Flight Day 2 videos are now available in the NASA Spaceflight Gallery.


  • 02 March - Afternoon Update - Mission To Continue! - Shortly before 3PM EST, Space Shuttle Program Manager Ron Dittemore stated that, based on the perfect functioning of Freon coolant loop #2, and the apparent stability of loop #1, that the mission will continue on schedule. The seven astronauts will have good news waiting for them when they awaken at 8:52PM EST tonight (0152 GMT Sunday) to begin Flight Day 3. NASA reports:

    STS-109 Chases Hubble Space Telescope
    IMAGE: Shuttle astronauts talk to journalists on Earth. Image courtesy of NASA.Mission Control bid Columbia's crew an early good night as the crew prepared to go to sleep just before noon central time today.
    As the crew prepared for sleep, Spacecraft communicator Steve Maclean told Commander Scott Altman that Mission Managers would meet later today to discuss ongoing analysis of the freon loop cooling system, but the flight team was quite optimistic. The crew was told to plan on a Sunday morning rendezvous and capture of the Hubble Space Telescope.
    Watch NASA TV to see Hubble capture about 3:14 a.m. CST [4:14AM EST/0914 GMT] Sunday. NASA TV Schedule

    More launch and preflight videos at KSCMission Control images are up in the NASA Spaceflight Gallery.

  • 02 March 2002 - The astronauts of Shuttle Columbia spent their first full day (they're on a wacky half-overnight schedule) in pursuit of the HST. Will it be their last full day? NASA reports:

    Astronauts Fly Toward Hubble
    STS-109 launches. Photo courtesy of NASA. Most of the crew's efforts today have focused on checkouts of the rendezvous tools that will be used as Commander Scott Altman, Pilot Duane Carey and Flight Engineer Nancy Currie complete the final stages of the rendezvous early Sunday morning. Mission Specialists Rick Linnehan, John Grunsfeld, Mike Massimino and Jim Newman began checkouts of the spacesuits they will wear over the course of five scheduled spacewalks to rejuvenate and enhance the Hubble Space Telescope.
    The crew of the Columbia arose at 8:22 pm CST [9:22PM/1422 GMT] Friday to begin their planned activities in preparation for Sunday's rendezvous with Hubble and the next week’s EVAs. Currently, at 2:30 am CST the crew is doing a video survey of the orbiter’s payload bay to check out equipment and technical hardware to be used to service and update the space telescope. Later in the day the crew will prepare the orbiter’s airlock, check out EVA equipment, and then take part in a public affairs event with several media organizations.

    Flight Day 2 began Friday evening and will end Saturday afternoon, by which time NASA managers will confirm the continuation of the mission. STS-109 may have to end before any of the HST servicing activities even start, because one of the two Freon-cooling loops in the payload bay doors (which help cool the orbiter's electronics) are malfunctioning. Safety rules demand a return home if one system fails, but it is not completely down - just operating in a "degraded" state. This is giving everyone hope that the mission can continue as planned. 

    The Flight Day 1 Crew Activity Report  and images are now available in the NASA Spaceflight Gallery.

 

  • 01 March 2002 - Evening Update - Flight controllers are keeping an eye on the coolant situation, but for now, the mission will continue. The astronauts are in no danger, and NASA seems optimistic that the flight will not be curtailed. A final decision will be made tomorrow. NASA reports:

    Managers Optimistic Cooling System OK; STS-109 Chases Hubble
    Columbia lifts off on mission STS-109. Image courtesy of NASA.Space Shuttle Columbia will continue its pursuit of the Hubble Space Telescope. The seven STS-109 astronauts received news early Friday night that managers are optimistic that the full mission will go forward as planned. Managers will meet again at midday Saturday to evaluate the situation. Two cooling systems are onboard Columbia and the other is operating perfectly.
    Onboard Columbia, Commander Scott Altman and Pilot Duane Carey will adjust Columbia's orbit at 11:10 p.m. CST Friday [12:10AM EST/0510 GMT Saturday]. The crew will also check the robotic arm and spacesuits in preparation for Columbia's arrival at the telescope and the mission's five space walks. Mission Specialist Nancy Currie is slated to grapple Hubble with the robot arm at 3:14 a.m. CST [4:14AM EST/0914 GMT] Sunday.
    Columbia's mission is proceeding as normal, with the crew spending their first full day in orbit checking out the equipment they will use to capture the Hubble Space Telescope on Sunday. Shuttle managers initially reviewed information regarding a degraded cooling system aboard Columbia late Friday, and they are optimistic the problem will not have any impact on the flight. However, a further review of the situation is planned for midday on Saturday.

    Preflight videos are available in the NASA Spaceflight Gallery.


  • 01 March - Afternoon Update - Columbia is orbiting the Earth, chasing after the Hubble Space Telescope, which it will capture on Sunday. But wait, Houston - there is  a problem with one of two systems which cool the Orbiter's electronics and life support gear, and that could force flight controllers to cut the mission short. NASA reports:

    Mission Control Evaluates Freon Loop Flow Rate
    NASA image of STS-109 launchShortly after the on-time launch of Space Shuttle Columbia today, flight controllers detected a low flow rate in an orbiter freon loop that helps to dissipate heat from the vehicle. Shuttle managers are evaluating the issue, studying the flight data to determine if the loop will be able to operate within acceptable limits for the rest of the mission.
    Following Columbia’s launch from the Kennedy Space Center this morning, flight controllers noticed a degraded flow rate in one of two freon cooling loops. There are two freon loops that are part of the active thermal control system on board the shuttle that work to dissipate heat from the orbiter.
    The degraded flow rate, although low, is slightly above flight rule limits. Mission managers are currently reviewing the flight data and studying past performance of the sensors that measure the flow rate to build confidence in the observed flow rate and its ability to support the mission through completion.
    In the meantime, the crew has gone to sleep and will wake up just before 8:30 p.m. central time [9:30PM EST/1430 GMT] to begin their first full day on orbit.

    If all goes as planned, Columbia will reach the Hubble on early Sunday morning. Play-by-play at right.


  • 01 March 2002 - Morning Update - LIFTOFF! - Shuttle Columbia roared into orbit in a beautiful predawn launch under tight security at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA reports:

    Columbia Launches, Heads to Hubble Space Telescope
    NASA image of a space shuttle lifting off at night The seven astronauts of Space Shuttle Mission STS-109 are on their way to service the Hubble Space Telescope. The mission will showcase the intricate work that can be done in space as the crew installs new equipment on the telescope in a series of five space walks over the next 11 days.
    America's first Space Shuttle, Columbia lifted off this morning at 6:22 a.m. EST [1122 GMT] from the Kennedy Space Center sporting a new "glass cockpit," increased cargo capacity, a strengthened crew cabin and enhanced protection of its cooling system from orbital debris.
    Columbia Returns to Space to Service Hubble
    Columbia is slated to grapple the orbital observatory and bring it into the payload bay early Sunday morning. While at Hubble, the crew will conduct five space walks to perform the servicing work.
    The biggest improvements the mission will make to Hubble will be installation of the Advanced Camera for Surveys and new solar arrays. Since its launch in April 1990, Hubble has provided scientific data and images of unprecedented resolution revolutionizing scientific knowledge.

    The Shuttle engines lit up the early-morning clouds as the Hubble Telescope orbited overhead. The International Space Station crew enjoyed a view of the launch from above, as they orbited over Bermuda. Launch video here. Crew bios here.


  • 01 March 2002 - Launch Day - After a 1-day delay, everything is lined up for this morning's launch of the newly-refitted Space Shuttle Columbia. NASA reports:

    Shuttle Mission to Hubble to Launch Friday
    NASA image of Space Shuttle Columbia on the launchpad. All systems are go for launch of Space Shuttle mission STS-109 Friday morning at [6:22AM EST/1122 GMT]. NASA Managers had delayed liftoff for 24 hours of this, the fourth Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission. A combination of expected low temperatures, winds and humidity Thursday morning pushed the launch environment to the limit of safe conditions. 
    Columbia, Crew Set to Begin Trip to Hubble Space Telescope
    Launch day has arrived for Space Shuttle Columbia and its seven-member crew. Forecasts indicate that there is a 70 percent chance of acceptable weather at launch time. The main concern is low cloud ceilings.
    This will be Columbia's first flight since STS-93 in 1999. Astronaut Scott Altman is serving as commander for STS-109, and Astronaut Duane Carey is the mission's pilot. Astronauts Nancy Currie, John Grunsfeld, Richard Linnehan, Michael Massimino and James Newman are serving as mission specialists.
    Launch Day Arrives for Columbia, Crew
    Workers strap Commander Scott Altman (foreground) into his seat in Space Shuttle Columbia's cockpit. Image courtesy of NASA TV.During the 11-day mission, the crew will take five space walks. They will add the Advanced Camera for Surveys to Hubble's array of instruments, making the spacecraft's observations ten times better. The seven-member crew will also replace the telescope's solar arrays.
    Follow launch activities on NASA Television or NASA TV on the Web. For an interactive view of STS-109, click here. (Requires Flash Player) Check out Mission Specialist John Grunsfeld's Notes from Space.

    Despite some low-level clouds, things are looking good for today's pre-dawn launch. Check the play-by-play links in the right-hand column for live coverage, check NASA's webcams, or watch live video on NASA TV!

This page will cover the STS-109 Space Shuttle mission from launch to undocking. Part 1 covers preflight activities, including yesterday's launch scrub.

 

STS-109 Links...


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