Related News

Home » World

Astronauts put Hubble back in position

REJUVENATED by hours of repairs in space, the Hubble Space Telescope floated out of shuttle Atlantis' cargo bay yesterday to reclaim its place as the world's flagship observatory for astronomical research.

Atlantis astronauts spent more than 36 hours over five marathon spacewalks to make upgrades and outfit Hubble with new instruments. These included a panchromatic wide-field camera that should be able to see objects formed just 500 million years after the universe's birth in the big bang explosion some 13.7 billion years ago.

Using the shuttle's robot arm, astronaut Megan McArthur gently lifted the 13-tonne observatory from a work platform in Atlantis' payload bay where it had been positioned since last Wednesday.

Holding the telescope high overhead, she released Hubble as the spacecraft soared 560 kilometers above the planet.

"Hubble isn't just a satellite," astronaut John Grunsfeld said as he wrapped up the final spacewalk on Monday. "It's about humanity's quest for knowledge."

Watching Hubble resume its solitary voyage in orbit was a bittersweet moment for the United States space agency, which has staged five previous shuttle missions to service the observatory. The shuttle fleet is being retired next year.

"Hubble has returned to flagship status. It now has a full arsenal of instruments and tools for astronomers to make new discoveries," said Jon Morse, NASA's chief astrophysicist.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend