|Posted on Aug 22, 2008 12:14:12 AM | Lori Tyahla | 1 Comments ||
I am the HST Development Project Scientist, responsible for ensuring all new hardware developed for SM4 meets its scientific goals. I am also the Instrument Scientist for the Wide Field Camera 3. The HST Project developed this facility instrument on behalf of the astronomical community and as such has no principal investigator. We have a local science team that is responsible for dealing with day-to-day issues related to the instrument's scientific performance and for carrying out its ground calibration. In addition, an external Science Oversight Committee, chaired by Prof. Robert O'Connell of the University of Virginia, represents the broader community and provides overall guidance regarding scientific matters. I have a BS in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, and a Master’s and Ph.D from the University of California, Berkeley also in Physics.
21 August 2008
9:00PM. Just arrived at Johnson Space Center for the Servicing Mission 4 JIS (Joint Integrated Simulation) #5 – “Joint” because it is supported by both Johnson, lead center for space shuttle on-orbit operations, and Goddard, lead center for HST (Hubble Space Telescope) operations. Just as the astronauts must practice repeatedly for the mission, so must the ground support personnel. The mission is short, and the time during the 5 scheduled spacewalks is particularly precious. It is therefore necessary for experts on all shuttle and HST systems and procedures to be on console to address any problems as they arise – with round-the-clock operations, there ends up being hundreds of people who support the mission.
My station is in the Blue Flight Control Room (FCR), or as we call it, the "blue ficker", at JSC with some other HST personnel (more HST personnel are stationed back at Goddard). Shuttle ops are controlled from the White Flight Control Room down the hall. Upstairs is another large room with many other HST support personnel monitoring various hardware subsystems. Also upstairs in this same building is the old Apollo control room – “Tranquility Base here, the Eagle has landed…”, “Houston, we have a problem…” – a goose-bump-raising site that we have all visited when not on duty.
From left, Randy Kimble, David Leckrone, Preston Burch (all from GSFC), Matt Mountain (STScI), Mike Kienlen and Keith Kalinowski (both from GSFC) at a management console during the joint integrated simulation at JSC on Aug. 21.
As Instrument Scientist for the new Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), I am particularly eager tonight to see how the functional test of the newly installed instrument goes (the Simulation, or "sim", picked up this evening a few hours after the astronaut installation of WFC3 on the first EVA - Extravehicular Activity - day). WFC3 has two observing channels – the ultraviolet/visible (UVIS) channel can be checked out pretty well, even though the Charge-Coupled Devices (CCDs) will not be fully cooled until several weeks after release of the telescope; for the infrared (IR) channel, we can check out the electronics, but the detector is much too warm during the Servicing Mission to yield any actual imaging data.
22 August 2008
3:00AM. Success! WFC3 has passed its functional test! Both channels look completely nominal. There is one small telemetry issue – looks like a bad readout on a temperature sensor – but nothing that should impair operations. A good feeling in Sim land, and we’re all hoping for the ecstatic feeling of equivalent success in the real servicing mission functional test that should be happening a mere seven weeks from now!
The main issue for the rest of the night will be some forward planning of the upcoming EVAs – there is a simulated problem with the rotator that orients HST properly so that the work site to be serviced faces the crew cabin; this means that the telescope will have to be manually rotated at the beginning and end of each day’s EVA at the cost of a significant amount of EVA time. We’ll have to give up something in the planned timeline for each day, so there is a lot of discussion of the various options, based on the priorities that have been set for the various mission elements (the new hardware and the STIS - Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph - and ACS - Advanced Camera for Surveys - repair tasks) and the logistics of how things pack into a given day’s activity. It appears that it will basically come down to a choice between repairing ACS and installing a new Fine Guidance Sensor. Sad to lose one, but most of the mission content can be retained.
Tags : Ground Personnel, Simulation, Training