Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Visiting Astronauts

I am so excited for my girls! Hanover and Flurpee went with daddy to listen to two astronauts from the STS-125 Hubble Servicing mission. The astronauts were touring some of the companies responsible providing systems and support for the Hubble Space Telescope. The STS-125 went up last week and just returned 4 days ago. They were up for 16 days. (Corrected for dates and length of trip.)

The astronauts who spoke were the Mission Commander Scott Altman and Mission Specialist Drew Feustel. The kids each got the photo from the link (the entire crew on backed by one of the most amazing Hubble photos) signed by each crew member and with biographical information on the back. Apparently PhDs are quite common, test pilots slightly less so, and then you hit your aerospace and mechanical engineers.

The kids listened to a short presentation and then got to watch videos of the astronauts during their mission. Afterward the astronauts accepted questions. The whole presentation lasted almost two hours! Hanover was so inspired she (almost) wanted to be an astronaut. Except for the part where the commander explained that during take-off it feels like three friends just jumped on you.

And the final good news is that there may be an opportunity for the Hubble to be boosted to a higher orbit where it would not be serviced any longer but still afford some additional information as long as it stays functional. That certainly sounds better than putting it into a degrading orbit to disintegrate on re-entry.

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