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Proceedings Paper

Life extension activities for the Hubble Space Telescope
Author(s): Keith D. Walyus; Joyce Pepe; Michael Prior
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Paper Abstract

Without an additional Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Servicing Mission (SM4), the HST Project will face numerous challenges to keep the telescope operating for as long as possible. As part of SM4, the HST Project planned to install various upgrades to the telescope including the installation of new batteries and new rate integrating gyros. Without these upgrades, reliability analyses and trend projections indicate that the spacecraft will lose the capability to conduct science operations later this decade. The HST team is being challenged to maximize the telescope's remaining operational lifetime, and also maximize its science output and quality. The two biggest areas of concern are the age and condition of the batteries and gyros. Together they comprise the largest risk to telescope productivity and safety and present the biggest challenges to the HST team. The six nickel-hydrogen (NiH2) batteries on HST are the original batteries from launch. With fourteen years of operational life, these batteries have -lasted longer than those on any comparable mission. Yet as with all batteries, their capacity has been declining. Engineers are examining various methods to prolong the life of these mission critical batteries, and retard the rate of degradation. In addition to the batteries, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) scheduled all six gyros to be replaced on SM4. Two of the six gyros have already failed, leaving four available for operational use. To be able to conduct science operations, the telescope currently needs three gyros. Efforts are underway to enable a guiding mode that will require only two gyros. In this mode, however, science target scheduling will be strongly driven by new factors (such as star tracker availability), which may ultimately reduce science gathering efficiency. The status on this effort and its potential impact on science operations will be discussed. This paper will focus on these and other efforts to prolong the life of the HST, thus enabling it to remain a world-class observatory for as long as possible.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 October 2004
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 5488, UV and Gamma-Ray Space Telescope Systems, (11 October 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.551953
Show Author Affiliations
Keith D. Walyus, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Joyce Pepe, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Michael Prior, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5488:
UV and Gamma-Ray Space Telescope Systems
Guenther Hasinger; Martin J. L. Turner, Editor(s)

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