Fixing a NASA Spacecraft


Repairs to a spacecraft can present unique challenges. Two of the more known telescopes the Hubble and the Kepler became in need of repair after being launch into orbit.
The Hubble approached the challenge of repairs threw it’s design to be serviced in space. The Hubble’s design made it one of the largest telescopes. The Hubble contained state of the art imagery technologies that allowed the telescope to take high-resolution pictures in near darkness utilizing several different spectrum of light. The problem was in the nearly 8 ft mirror used to reflect light.
Because of a faulty ground within the Hubble’s mirror the Hubble’s ability to take high-resolution images of Earth was greatly impaired. So after being launched in 1990 NASA scientist planned another manned mission to repair the compromised telescope. In 1993 the telescope’s optics where restored to the high quality that was expected.

After having success with four ensuing missions NASA was facing a National disaster when the Columbia Space shuttle disintegrated upon returning into the Earth’s atmosphere. The disaster could have been avoided if the fact that a piece of foam from the external tank came off during launch causing damage to the shuttles wing had been established. The crew could have repaired the damage and ensured a safe entrance back into the Earth’s atmosphere. It took more than two years after the Columbia calamity for NASA to resume any space missions. Yet after technical revisions to systems and added procedures NASA administrator Mike Griffin approved one final service mission to the Hubble telescope in 2009. Now five years after the last mission to repair the Hubble telescope it still is commissioned for use by NASA.

The Kepler Telescope was launched into orbit in 2009. Failures in reaction wheel system that keep the cameras aboard the spacecraft oriented left the spacecraft hobbled in space in 2013. NASA detected problems with the spacecraft in the middle of May that year and by July had a cark team of engineers on top of fixing the problem. Sadly NASA concluded in August 2013 that the damage was not able to be fixed and shifted the focus on Kepler to utilizing the remaining functions on the spacecraft.

Even though the space shuttles that built the international Space Station have been decommissioned. The fact remains that Space Station is still in orbit. This makes it inevitable that the station too will find its self in need of repair and NASA will subsequently.

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