Astronauts doing more Hubble work
May 15, 2009
MARCIA DUNN AP Aerospace Writer CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.
Atlantis' astronauts headed out for another spacewalk today, this time to give the Hubble Space Telescope some new, badly needed gyroscopes and batteries. Replacing Hubble's gyroscopes is the top priority for this final repair mission to the 19-year-old observatory. The gyroscopes are part of the telescope pointing system, and half of the old ones are broken. The two spacewalkers Michael Massimino and Michael Good ventured out as the shuttle and anchored telescope sailed 350 miles above the Atlantic Ocean. "It is a beautiful day outs i d e, " Ma s s imi n o s a i d . "Anybody home?" He joked. He had a brief fright when his communication system fouled up. For a minute or two, no one could not hear him. "That was scary," said one of the astronauts inside when the problem cleared up. "A little bit," Massimino replied. Space is particularly littered in this orbit, and Atlantis and its crew face a greater than usual risk of being slammed by a piece of junk. As a precaution, NASA has a rescue shuttle on standby, ready to launch in just three days if necessary. It was the second spacewalk in as many days for the Atlantis astronauts. On Thursday, another two-man team installed a powerful new camera and a computer data unit, after struggling with a stubborn bolt.