Astro Joe & Astronaut John Grunsfeld... Jun 24, 2009 19:43:35 GMT -6
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jun 24, 2009 19:43:35 GMT -6
Chicago Astronomer Joe and Shuttle Astronaut John M. Grunsfeld
24 June 2009
24 June 2009
I had the great pleasure and opportunity to meet and briefly talk with STS-125 Shuttle Astronaut John Grunsfeld at the Adler Planetarium this day.
This was his first stop since his returning home from the Great Hubble repair mission last month and he presented us with an interesting slide and movie show of the flight.
Explaining his experiences in zero gravity and preparation for the EVA, here he shows how Astronauts sleep, binded tightly against a wall, eyes covered and ears plugged.
He said he loved sleeping in space, and as he has been on several Shuttle flights now, it's very calming.
Grunsfeld explained that the Hubble is better than new now...with brand new optics, gyros and other upgrades. Even a docking port was installed for future spacecraft to attend to the Hubble...either to repair, hoist to higher orbit or other attentions. Items that were never intended to to be replaced were wrestled out and this was the first mission in space that metal was cut away to access the internal componants...very dangerous.
The batteries were replaced and after 19 years,still working! The packs are recharged & recycled every 90 minutes as the Hubble orbits the Earth. The battery pack container is about the size of a small fridge.
As this required many EVA's, endurance of both astronauts and equipment were stretched. In prior EVA missions, fingers were getting dangerously cold...as the the temps swing wildly from +200 to -200 degrees Fahrenheit. Gloves are now fitted with small metal heaters in the gloves to keep the space chill out.
Interesting was the removal of the "Corrective Lenses" that were installed to fix the Hubble's myopia when first operated. In it's place, the astronauts installed sophisticated imaging equipment.
We will know in about a month from now if the Hubble "Works"...or not.
As a Chicago area native and as his Grandfather was the Architect who designed the Adler Planetarium, Grunsfeld has a direct connection to the Adler. He brought three objects into space with from from our museum...
First was a faithful reproduction of Galileo's telescope in recognition of the 400th Anniversary of the telescope in astronomy. Too long to stow, they were forced to cut it in half and installed coupling threads.
Second was a small telescope built in the 1800's that will be displayed in our "History of the Telescope" collection...
The Adler has a running program of launching weather-type balloons thousands of feet up called the "Far Horizons Mission"...and on one flight, they strapped a Peep as a space sugary confection.
So, it was only fitting that Peeps went along for the ride...
He said they were delicious. (I like the Yellow ones myself.... )
Here, the crew goes through the checklist before re-entry..
At the end of the lecture, it was opened up to questions and a short autograph session. I think this is quite cool and honored at the Chicago Astronomer reference...
Some of my fellow Adler facilitators where present and got their autographs as well...
Pictured are Adler Facilitators Nick, Jude and myself.
A productive day indeed.
Chicago Astronomer Joe