Hubble Space Telescope Upgrade

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News:

  • Installing the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) — A new and more powerful main camera that bests its predecessors by seeing in both ultraviolet and near infrared as well as visible light. Hubble would be able to see 90 times more objects than it did at launch in April 1990.
  • Replacing six Rate Sensor Units (RSU) — The gyroscopes help keep Hubble pointed precisely at distant stars and galaxies for hours at a time. Hubble can technically limp by on two or even one gyroscope, but the fresh exchange ensures that the science keeps flowing.
  • Replacing six Nickel Hydrogen Batteries — The suitcase -sized batteries get swapped out for the first time in 16 years, giving Hubble an extra lease on life for the next 5 to 10 years. The batteries keep Hubble humming during the night portion of its orbit.
  • Adding the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) — This instrument uses the ultraviolet range to find out the temperature, density, chemical composition and velocity of intergalactic gas and galaxies, with ten times the sensitivity of current Hubble instruments.
  • Repairing the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrometer (STIS) — A two-sided instrument that uniquely scans across all light wavelengths of objects such as planets, comets, stars and galaxies. Spacewalkers will replace a failed power converter to restore one side of the damaged device.
  • Replacing the Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS) — One of three optical sensors that help Hubble lock onto targets with a system of mirrors and lenses. The old FGS returns home after being removed from Hubble during an earlier servicing mission.
  • Fixing the Advance Camera for Surveys (ACS) — A highly efficient survey tool with a wide field of view that became damaged. Astronauts hope to repair some of its capabilities since it failed last year.
  • Adding new Thermal Insulation — The multilayer insulation on Hubble has become torn and broken by the harsh environment of space. The new thermal blankets protect the damaged insulation and helps maintain a steady temperature for Hubble.

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