Template:Infobox spaceflight STS-109 (SM3B) was a Space Shuttle mission that launched from the Kennedy Space Center on 1 March 2002. It was the 108th mission of the Space Shuttle program,[1] the 27th flight of the orbiter Columbia[1] and the fourth servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope.[2] It was also the last successful mission of the orbiter Columbia before the ill-fated STS-107 mission, which culminated in the Columbia disaster.

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was placed in orbit during mission STS-31 on 25 April 1990.[3] Initially designed to operate for 15 years, plans for periodic service and refurbishment were incorporated into its mission from the start.[4] After the successful completion of the second planned service mission (SM2) by the crew of STS-82 in February 1997, three of HST's six gyroscopes failed. NASA decided to split the third planned service mission into two parts, SM3A and SM3B.[5] A fifth and final servicing mission, STS-125 (SM4) launched 11 May 2009[6] The work performed during SM4 is expected to keep HST in operation through 2014.[7]


Position Astronaut
Commander Scott D. Altman
Third spaceflight
Pilot Duane G. Carey
First spaceflight
Mission Specialist 1 John M. Grunsfeld
Fourth spaceflight
Mission Specialist 2 Nancy J. Currie
Fourth spaceflight
Mission Specialist 3 Richard M. Linnehan
Third spaceflight
Mission Specialist 4 James H. Newman
Fourth spaceflight
Mission Specialist 5 Michael J. Massimino
First spaceflight


Hubble Space Telescope SM3B

Hubble Space Telescope sporting new solar arrays during SM3B.

EVA Team Start – UTC End – UTC Duration
1 Grunsfeld
4 March 2002, 06:37 4 March 2002, 13:38 7:01
2 Newman
5 March 2002, 06:40 5 March 2002, 13:56 7:16
3 Grunsfeld
6 March 2002, 08:28 6 March 2002, 15:16 6:48
4 Newman
7 March 2002, 09:00 7 March 2002, 16:18[8][9] 7:18
5 Grunsfeld
8 March 2002, 08:46 8 March 2002, 16:18[8][10] 7:32

Mission highlightsEdit


Hubble Space Telescope after servicing by the crew of STS-109

The purpose of STS-109 was to service the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). It was Columbia's first flight following an extensive two and a half year modification period (its most recent mission being STS-93). During the mission the crew installed a new science instrument, the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), new rigid solar arrays (SA3), a new Power Control Unit (PCU) and an experimental cryocooler for the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS). Columbia also reboosted HST to a higher orbit.

ACS FOC swap

Astronauts remove the FOC to make room for the ACS

The STS-109 astronauts performed a total of five spacewalks in five consecutive days to service and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope. The spacewalkers received assistance from their crewmates inside Columbia. Currie operated the Shuttle's robot arm while Altman was her backup. Carey and Altman documented the EVA activities with video and still images.

Accomplishments of the spacewalks included the installation of new solar arrays, a new camera, a new Power Control Unit, a Reaction Wheel Assembly and an experimental cooling system for the NICMOS unit. STS-109 accumulated a total of 35 hours, 55 minutes of EVA time. Following STS-109, a total of 18 spacewalks had been conducted during four Space Shuttle missions to service Hubble (the others being STS-61, STS-82, STS-103 and STS-125) for a total of 129 hours, 10 minutes by 14 different astronauts.

Hubble on the payload bay just prior to being released by the STS-109 crew

Hubble on the payload bay just prior to being released by the STS-109 crew.

It was also the last successful flight of Columbia, as on its next mission, STS-107, it disintegrated on re-entry, killing all aboard.

STS-109 is considered a night launch, as sunrise was at 6:47 am, and Columbia launched at 6:22 am EST, 25 minutes before sunrise.


See alsoEdit


PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Mission STS-109". NASA. Retrieved 1 March 2009. 
  2. "The Hubble Space Telescope: SM3B". NASA. Archived from the original on 22 January 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2009. 
  3. "The Hubble Space Telescope: Deployment". NASA. Archived from the original on 7 March 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2009. 
  4. "Servicing History and Long-Term Plans" (PDF). NASA. June 1993. Retrieved 1 March 2009. 
  5. "The Hubble Space Telescope: SM3A". NASA. Archived from the original on 20 March 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2009. 
  6. "STS-125: Final Shuttle Mission to Hubble Space Telescope". NASA. Retrieved 1 March 2009. 
  7. "The Hubble Space Telescope: SM4". NASA. Archived from the original on 22 January 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2009. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "STS-109 Mission Archives". NASA. 
  9. "STS-109 Status Report #14". NASA. 7 March 2002. 
  10. "STS-109 Status Report #16". NASA. 8 March 2002. 

External linksEdit

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