Second Hubble Servicing Mission

Fifteen years ago today — February 11, 1997 — the Space Shuttle Discovery launched from Kennedy Space Center on a mission to refurbish the Hubble Space Telescope.

(Astronauts Steven Smith and Mark Lee ride the Shuttle’s remote manipulator arm while effecting repairs on the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA image.)

Mission STS-82 astronauts Kenneth D. Bowersox, Scott J. Horowitz, Mark C. Lee, Steven A. Hawley, Gregory J. Harbaugh, Steven L. Smith, and Joseph R. Tanner completed five spacewalks during the mission and placed the telescope in a higher orbit.

The astronauts

  • Replaced the Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph with the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph
  • Replaced the Faint Object Spectrograph with the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer
  • Replaced a degraded Fine Guidance Sensor and a failed Engineering and Science Tape Recorder
  • Installed the Optical Control Electronics Enhancement Kit to increase the capability of the Fine Guidance Sensor
  • Replaced a Data Interface Unit and an old reel-to-reel Engineering and Science Tape Recorder with a new digital Solid State Recorder
  • Changed out one of four Reaction Wheel Assemblies
  • Replaced a Solar Array Drive Electronics package

During the second EVA crewmembers “noted cracking and wear on thermal insulation on side of telescope facing the sun and in the direction of travel.” Mission controllers added a fifth spacewalk to the schedule so the astronauts could install insulating blankets — some of which were put together on Discovery‘s middeck during the mission — over key component areas.

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