Report on the Hubble Space Telescope

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  • Topic: Hubble Space Telescope, STS-125, Great Observatories program
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  • Published : October 28, 2008
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The Hubble Space Telescope was created by and named after astronomer Edwin P. Hubble. He was known for his creation of Hubble’s Law which is used to calculate the rate at which the universe is expanding. He is also known for his discovery of the galaxies that are outside the Milky Way. The Hubble Space Telescope is a large telescope that is placed in orbit around the earth. Scientists have figured out that by placing a telescope in space, putting it outside of earth’s atmosphere, a telescope can escape any atmospheric disturbances that hinder the quality of the pictures that taken. Since the Hubble became operational in 1990 it is well known because of the discoveries that it has contributed to astronomy. The Hubble is considered one of the four “Great Observatories” along with the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory, Chandra X-Ray Observatory, and Spitzer Space Telescope. Throughout its years of service, the Hubble has been upgraded many times and is still currently being outfitted with new equipment.

2.0Equipment on the Hubble Space telescope

2.1 Spacecraft Systems. The Hubble is not just a telescope but it is a combination of specialized equipment that work together to achieve a common purpose. Some of the spacecraft systems that help the telescope function are communications, power, computers, and housing. The Hubble space telescope transmits it information though a series of four antennas. This provides the telescope with instructions from the ground that could be relayed at anytime. Also to help the information go to and from the telescope smoothly there are a series of relay satellites called the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS).

The following are 5 steps that the telescope goes though to communicate with the science institute on earth. 1) Light from an object is captured by the Telescope. 2) The data is relayed from the Hubble Space Telescope to the TDRSS. 3) The TDRSS further relays the data from the Hubble to the ground station at White Sands, N.M. 4) the data sent to the ground station is further relayed to the Goddard Space Flight Center. 5) From the Goddard Space Flight Center the data is relayed to the Space Telescope Science Institute. Behind all the equipment that runs on the satellite is the power that allows it to function. The Hubble generates its own power by utilizing two thin solar arrays. The power is either used directly when it is in the sun or though batteries that have been changed when it is in the earth’s shadow. The battery life on the Hubble, fully charged, would allow for up to 7.5 hours or 5 orbits of normal operation.

Onboard the Hubble is two main computers which are responsible for the main operations of the telescope. One of the computers is responsible for controlling the receiving and transmitting data from the Hubble to the Space Center on earth. The other computer is responsible for positioning the Hubble using equipment like a gyroscope and a point control subsystem to help the satellite target a specified region of space while it is on the move. Each of the equipment onboard the telescope contain small computers and microprocessors that are all interconnected so that functions like temperature control, collecting data and communication can all be monitored.

The equipment on the Hubble is housed by a multilayer insulation which protects the telescope from the temperature changes in space. Underneath this insulation is an aluminum shell which is essentially the backbone that holds everything from the optics to the spacecraft systems in place. The inside of the telescope is composed of a material know as graphite epoxy. This material was used because of its ability to withstand extreme temperature changes that cause other metals to expand and contract. (The Hubble Space Telescope; HUBBLESITE; European Space Agency)

2.2 Instruments. The instruments onboard the Hubble include an Advance Camera, Wide Field and Planetary Camera, and a...
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