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The first spacewalk to repair the Hubble Space Telescope is over * Malfunctions in removing the planetary camera

The two spacewalkers took out the wide field camera and the computer that, due to the malfunction that occurred in it, delayed the mission for half a year, but they were unable to assemble its replacement

Spacewalkers on mission STS-125 complete the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Planetary Camera #2. Photo: NASA TV
Spacewalkers on mission STS-125 complete the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Planetary Camera #2. Photo: NASA TV

Astronauts John Grunsfeld and Drew Feustel left for the first mission at 08:52 EST (15:52 Israel time). Over the course of about six and a half hours, they removed the wide-film planetary camera No. 2 and replaced it with a new wide-field camera - No. 3. The new camera will allow the telescope to take bright, detailed photographs on a large scale in a wider variety of colors.

The next task was to replace the command unit and handle the scientific information. This is a computer that sends commands to Hubble's scientific instruments and adjusts the formats of the data to transfer them to the ground. This component is the component that broke down about six months ago, on the eve of the mission's original deadline and caused it to be postponed.

The spacewalkers replaced the old unit with the new unit and put the old unit into a special carrier on the cargo deck of the shuttle Atlantis. Grunsfeld also installed a soft capture device that will allow future spacecraft to dock with the telescope after the shuttles are retired. The mechanism was attached to the life support system connecting the shuttle to the telescope.

Their last task for the day was to install three sets of bolts that will allow faster opening and closing of the telescope doors during the third spacewalk on Saturday.

09: 42 Update

It turns out that despite NASA's optimism yesterday, the agency reports this morning that the first spacewalk did not end with the completion of all missions. It turned out that during the removal of the wide-field planetary camera #2, the astronauts were not able to loosen one of the screws attaching the camera that was mounted on the Hubble in 1993 and in the end the camera was actually dislodged and now there was a problem with the installation of the planetary camera #3. Now the installation of the planetary camera is a priority High.

In addition, NASA scheduled for today a round of photographs of the area suspected of being damaged where some heat protection tiles are also missing. During the mission, which will last about 45 minutes, the astronauts will examine the suspicious area using many sensors and then NASA will decide how to act. The agency says that this is a step taken to be on the safe side, although according to all the details known today, this malfunction should not endanger the return of the Atlantis shuttle to Earth.

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