RadioBDC Logo
| Listen Live
September 1, 2008 Permalink

Preparing to rescue Hubble

The Space Shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to launch next month (October 8th), carrying new instruments, batteries and gyroscopes to the Hubble Space Telescope. This will be the final servicing mission to Hubble, the 30th flight of the 23-year old Atlantis, and one of the final 10 flights of the Space Shuttle program, which will be retired in 2010. Even though Shuttle launches may seem to have become commonplace, their preparation and execution is still a months-long process, requiring the work and diligence of thousands to make sure the aging, complex systems are all in perfect condition for launch. Here are some photos of the ongoing preparations for the launch of this mission, STS-125, some of the people involved in making it work, and the crew, who will assume the risks to help keep Hubble alive. (23 photos total)

One of the three main engines for space shuttle Atlantis is transported to bay number 1 at NASA Kennedy Space Center's Orbiter Processing Facility for installation on June 10, 2008. Atlantis is the designated vehicle for the STS-125 mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. (NASA/Kim Shiflett)
more photos
This page lists only comments and the first photo for the entry.
To see the entire entry, with all photographs, click here.

159 comments so far...

Only 10 flights left? Had no idea.

Posted by adenalynne September 1, 08 08:41 AM

Here's a very nice Hubble Servicing Mission 4 trailer. Enjoy!

Posted by Umair Rahat September 1, 08 09:00 AM

#10 - she looks proud, brave, and nervous, all at once.

Posted by Lesley September 1, 08 09:00 AM

Wow! What an amazing programme and people. I cannot imagine the training and focus that this must need.

Safe trip and enjoy!

Posted by Jon September 1, 08 09:04 AM

Just ... wow every time I come here ... wow ...

Posted by Andrew Nye September 1, 08 09:06 AM

Incredible Pictures! Never had a so close look upon these things...

Posted by Peter September 1, 08 09:09 AM

#8 - Really amazing!

Posted by DLT photography September 1, 08 09:19 AM

This looks expensive.

Posted by Joe September 1, 08 10:00 AM

Seems to me it isn't just the pictures and the size of them (though great that they ARE big, and often ARE great), but they always seem to tell an interesting story. Not just the obvious headline pictures, but stuff we might wonder about but never actually see.

I reckon Alan Taylor has found his mission in life...!

Posted by Jon T September 1, 08 10:01 AM

Thousands of people to make sure millions and millions of things don't go wrong. NASA certainly has it's critics but I'm certainly not one of them. Impressive pics which gives an idea of the scale of the prep work for such a launch.

Posted by Gerb September 1, 08 10:22 AM

This site is out of this world!!!!

Absolutely fantastic

Posted by John Oliver September 1, 08 10:36 AM

Whenever I read a caption that says something like Photo #3 "The Pegasus barge carrying Atlantis' external fuel tank.." I always expect to to see a Stargate nearby :P

Posted by Marcelo September 1, 08 11:06 AM

#21 is what blew me away. they had to take the whole thing apart for some thing whose imperfections are measured in mm or even micro-meters.

Posted by almostinfamous September 1, 08 11:34 AM

The scale of this is amazing.

Posted by Andy King September 1, 08 11:59 AM

The last photo, the most precious. God bless America.

Posted by fairdinkumaussie September 1, 08 12:32 PM

The pool of astronauts isn't the most diverse is it?

7 white people. 6 guys and only 1 woman. Where the astronauts of color???

Posted by Eric Stoller September 1, 08 12:52 PM

Man, Atlantis looks like hell. It's good that the Shuttle fleet is being decommissioned soon.

Beautiful photos and an amazing launch system!

Posted by Nick Husher September 1, 08 12:56 PM

diversity and the best for the job don't always go hand in hand.

Posted by nasausa September 1, 08 02:11 PM

the world should spent way more money on research (inlc. space flight) than weapon and war! we could achieve so much more if wed just overcome our dam prejudices!

Posted by Peter Parker September 1, 08 02:16 PM

yes, it is a shame the rest of the world hasn't caught up with us on that score yet...

Posted by mpbk September 1, 08 03:07 PM

These are our real heros! People who have worked tirelessly, generation after generation to build the future of this country and the world and the human race.

Not Firemen and Soldiers! Engineers, scientist and inventors are what makes this country so great! They are the ones we should thank everyday!

Posted by Bryan September 1, 08 03:25 PM

Space Is Cool!

Posted by Jamie September 1, 08 03:48 PM

I've never been a flag waver (don't get me started!) but I am so proud of the work being done by those in our space program, and of the efforts being made to keep Hubble going as long as possible.

It really gets my old Star Trek heart beating faster; I wish we were spending more on efforts to work together in space and on Earth, and far less on tooling up to destroy each other.

Posted by Randy Walters September 1, 08 03:56 PM

Does the shuttle have two bathrooms?

Posted by Mrs Spader September 1, 08 04:25 PM

I'm guessing that power screwdriver (#12) is quite an expensive piece of kit!

Posted by MattR September 1, 08 05:07 PM

Marcelo said:

"...I always expect to to see a Stargate nearby :P"

You mean like picture #20?

Posted by emeyer September 1, 08 05:11 PM

Wow wow wow.

Posted by Jeff Barr September 1, 08 05:35 PM

How come you don't offer MagCloud issues for these?

I, for one, would love to have a hard-copy, properly produced, of some of your specials.

( and no, being from far away from Boston, subscribing to a Boston newspaper isn't going to happen )

Posted by Observer September 1, 08 08:14 PM

ANYONE not proud to be an American after viewing these pictures had better
review their priorities and values.
Each successful launch is a near maricle!

Posted by Ken Hunter September 1, 08 10:15 PM

Nice pictures!
I heard there is possibility Shuttle flights will be extended up to 2015 due to some kind of stupid political games between US and Russia

Posted by Amateur Astronomer September 2, 08 12:50 AM

is there a space ticket left for me?

Posted by nick September 2, 08 01:21 AM

Amazing photographs!! I went to high school with Megan - St. Francis High School, Mountain View, California, class of 1989. We were close friends. I am so happy for her and everything she has accomplished!

Megan is a wonderful, amazing human being! I am so proud that she is representing the United States, and the best qualities of all mankind, in her dedication and selfless work ethic.

Although it doesn't describe her role in detail in this article, having read other articles on the mission, I understand that Megan will be manipulating the robotic arm to capture and release the Hubble telescope.

I am honored to know such a brave, honorable woman. I know she, along with the entire crew, will be successful in their mission goals, and will return safely to their families, and to the praise and gratitude of a world yearning to see more clearly the depths of the cosmos, and our place within it.

Godspeed, Specialist! I'll be watching the launch - you are all in my heart!

Posted by Ted McElwee September 2, 08 01:54 AM

#21 is baffling: the amount of quality control is understandably high.

@Eric: Diversity for the sake of diversity is just not diverse. That's political correctness. Also, if you want to sound politically correct, you might not want to call them "astronauts of color".

Posted by Brendan September 2, 08 02:33 AM

Clearly seen here the Apollo-Saturn heritage. The Golden Age is not over!

Posted by Jose Garcia September 2, 08 02:37 AM

Fantastic site!
#20-This docking port will enable future craft to automatically dock with Hubble?
Hopefully this is being done to enable NASA to save Hubble, instead of de-orbiting it at the end of it's lifespan.
Please don't destroy Hubble NASA!!!

Posted by Shaunvdp September 2, 08 04:53 AM

Hey Ken Hunter, please keep in mind that the rest of the world outside of your precious America also has internet access!!! I'm proud of being part of this species. It is commects like yours that slows down our evolution....

Posted by Earthling September 2, 08 05:03 AM

Have a nice flight, guys!

Posted by Dani September 2, 08 05:13 AM

Wow, And what's gonna happen after this?
by the way I have a couple of pictures from Houble telescope that you can see them in my blog at

Posted by AmirHossein September 2, 08 05:43 AM

I, for one, would never sign on to be a member of a 7 person NASA flight... Their track record aint so good!

Posted by Thayer Nuts September 2, 08 06:31 AM

Bravery- continuing on in spite of your fears.

Well done, astronauts and mission-specialists: they bravely go, still. God Bless.

Posted by Ted September 2, 08 07:21 AM

Picture #21 is impressive. This is enough to remove some hardgear from the shuttle ? Oh my.

Posted by Cat September 2, 08 08:18 AM

Do enough people tell you guys you are fantastic.. I am forever amazed at your work.

Posted by Pete Dooley September 2, 08 08:29 AM

Truly amazing images. Looks like a really fun job. BTW that female astronaut is kinda cute!


Posted by Josh Woods September 2, 08 08:40 AM

im proud..human technology....

Posted by anida September 2, 08 09:37 AM

If people only appreciated how convenient their lives are today, because of things that were developed as part of the space program. NASA sets goals based on technologies that arent even invented yet. Then they go out and invent it.

Godspeed STS-125.

Looking forward to Orion and Ares in 2015 though.

Posted by Steve September 2, 08 09:38 AM

You are drawing the line at color. These incredible people draw a line between us and them. They are trully amazing and gifted people who are not just the kid that got all A's in High school. Research just one of their stories.

Posted by dean September 2, 08 09:38 AM

Amazing photos!


Posted by Alex September 2, 08 09:58 AM

Maybe Eric is looking for the TOKEN black guy?

Posted by Peter September 2, 08 10:38 AM

I am one of the engineers working on this mission. My role is Lead Electrical Engineer on the Wide Field Camera III (photo 18 shows her about to be loaded into the carrier). I am so thrilled to see these pictures!

My personal page on this mission:

Posted by Edward Cheung September 2, 08 11:42 AM


Posted by Jeroen vde September 2, 08 11:57 AM

It's interesting that the comments in response to mine assume that there are no astronauts of color ( ) because there were no qualified people of color for the job. Why not assume that institutionalized racism was the cause as opposed to the qualifications of the white astronauts. Why not assume that the white astronauts got to where they are because they didn't have to overcome institutions that oppress folks of color?

Why would an astronaut of color automatically be considered a "token"?

How am I "drawing the line at color" when every astronaut in the photo is white?

Posted by Eric Stoller September 2, 08 11:59 AM

Looks like theres a brother in pic 19...

Posted by Son of R2D2 September 2, 08 12:32 PM

Eric Stoller - there have been quite a few "astronauts of color" over the years that the Shuttle has been flying.

Or are you offended because there aren't any on this mission? Well, I'm sorry - but as an American Tax Payer, I'd prefer that the people qualified for the mission be the ones training and set to do the job - not someone who goes just because NASA is afraid on stepping on someone's toes. I'd prefer that the Commander of the shuttle be one who has the training and experience - not some wet-behind-the-ears pup who is chosen just because of the color of their skin. Spaceflight is no place to be playing the Race Game. You must chose the people who are ready and trained and qualified - Period.

Thayer Nuts - Bad track record? Try 125 Shuttle flights, 2 accidents. That's a 1.6% failure rate. There are no other human spaceflight organizations that have a smaller failure rate. Don't even mention the Russians - it took the rest of the world several decades to find out about the failures in their programs, and who knows if we'll ever find out the truth.

Posted by NB September 2, 08 12:43 PM

Reply to 51:

I am pretty sure that "Token" was meant to be a joke.

Not that your arguement should be taken aback as I feel you have valad points. Yet unfortunatly, I think that there is a lot more to talk about (at least on this page of the site) than ANOTHER conversation involving ethnicity or color of skin.

Posted by Anonymous September 2, 08 12:55 PM

To Eric S.- I suppose the concept of determining color of a person is getting a bit more difficult these days, and should be evidence to the pettiness of keeping score ad naseum by color-counters such as yourself. Do you have a color meter to determine if someone meets your criteria of being a person of color? Can you "just tell" when you look at a group picture to be able to pick out people of color? Is there a color test you give? How many non-color parents can an individual have, and still qualify to be a person of color that meets your specifications? Tell me, just how do you determine that someone is an individual of color?

Posted by robroy September 2, 08 01:15 PM

What happens when the space shuttles are retired? Are they being replaced by newer tech? Or have we just decided to not bother with expanding our horizons. I know the current admin is kind of anti-science but that is just silly. When Richard Branson is developing more tech for space travel than NASA there is a problem.

Posted by JM September 2, 08 01:50 PM

Eric Stoller - your own commentary is in its self racist.

I am a Caucasian American of Irish and German descent. My wife is mostly Irish. My two daughters are mixed Irish/German. My step son is 1/4 black, 1/4 Cherokee indian, and1/2 irish. His father is ½ black and ½ Cherokee, is a mathematician and a successful well respected businessman, and he and his cherokee mom black dad and mixed siblings attend our MIXED family get togethers such as Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. …So DON’T YOU DARE call me prejudiced, sir.

AMERICA IS A MELTING POT. Color is not anymore and should never have been an issue here. I work with a multitude of black engineers and scientists, just as I work with a multitude of Asians, and Middle-Easterners. Caucasians such as myself are just part of the mix in my world. –In fact, current estimates have shown that demographically I may actually be a minority in my field within 20 years or so.

People like yourself are merely pushing an agenda based upon fear and hostility bred by events that took place years before our present generation had anything to say about it!

Does that mean that atrocities were not committed? NO! Of course things were wrong! That’s why change was necessary. Nowadays, however, the change is done. Color is not the issue at hand anymore.

That is why I can safely say that with respect to any given crew of astronauts… Crew selection has nothing to do with gender, race, or skin tone. The issue is, HOW QUALIFIED AN INDIVIDUAL IS TO GET A JOB DONE, and on the part of NASA’s mission planners, the issue is also about PICKING QUALIFIED INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE AVAILABLE TO SUPPORT A MISSION AT THAT TIME. This is the very same reason why AGE is an important factor in astronaut selection for missions… Just because there is no one 60 years old flying our missions, do you hear folks screaming anything about AGE discrimination? Of course not! We all know that a certain level of physical fitness must exist for any one person to be selected to fly on a mission costing American Taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

….So, please, just accept the fact that the crew was selected for the right reasons… And if you’re not happy with that then feel free to get over it, stop complaining, and work happily alongside the rest of us in this world who are most interested in making this world a better place and doing something to make that happen every day.

Posted by Engineer Jones September 2, 08 01:52 PM

All I see are seven brave folks. Mainly Americans, but more importantly, human. With the help of 10's of thousands of other brave folks who spend their careers, and in some cases, their lives, to do the impossible. Every day.

To be honest, I don't care if the crew is black, white, green or purple. Male, female or 'other'. I have just one question - Are they the best people for the job? Nothing more. Nothing Less.

This taxpayer salutes all the women and men that work at NASA. Not just those in front of the camera or in the limelight. Especially those behind the scenes. Doing the Impossible - Every Day.

Posted by Fred in IT September 2, 08 01:52 PM

Was excellent and very attractive .
There is NASA unique .
Tanks a million !

Posted by Hamid Reza September 2, 08 01:57 PM

To those wondering what's in the on-deck circle for NASA:

Lunar Recon Mission:

What's happened in the past:

Don't forget Phoenix is on Mars working away as we type:

Posted by robroy September 2, 08 02:02 PM

Eric, and others wondering about lack of diversity - according to NASA, 13% of America's 136 astronauts are African-American, Asian-American or Latino. There have been at least 10 NASA astronaunts of African American ancestry, including one who died in the Challenger disaster. See more here. Also, see the diversity in this mission from 2006.

Just because there are no faces like that in these 23 photos, do not infer an institutional bias.

Now, please, can we drop the discussion of race or diversity in this context? Thanks.

Posted by alan taylor September 2, 08 02:09 PM

Not quite yet alan. I want to add that from the STS-107 (Columbia's fatal mission) flight, Kalpana Chawla was an immigrant from India, Ilan Ramon was an Israeli citizen, and Michael Anderson was, I believe, African American.

Posted by James September 2, 08 03:15 PM

Whoa! these pics r awesome!!! this is super niftastically kool!!! =D
*(hi dad!)*

Posted by Em September 2, 08 03:58 PM

#51, 61, 62: You might want to add that the current female record holder for number of days in space is a local girl, Suni Williams, recently returned last year from the Int'l Space Station. One of her parents (father) is Indian according to web info, and her mother is described as being of Slovenian descent, with Suni being described as Indian-Slovenian. See how this ethnic counting breaks down so fast and loses relevance? But for some reason, in my experience, when someone protests like Eric about not enough color, being of Indian descent (as in Asian-Indian) doesn't seem to quite count as "color." I hope the ethnic milestones cited above in previous posts and put to rest any preoccupation with the "first ethnic this" or the "first gender that", and the science and engineering achievements can be celebrated and appreciated for themselves.

Posted by robroy September 2, 08 04:07 PM

No height discrimination going on... look at the 3rd guy from the left in the group photo. He looks like an oomp-loompa or circus peanut. U-S-A! U-S-A!

Posted by me me me September 2, 08 04:25 PM

Mr Uppity Eric,

African Americans represent 13.8% of the US Population and represent 13% of the astronauts.

Noting these facts, you really sound like you are grasping at straws with your commentary on "institutional racism", since they have EXACTLY proportional representation. I seriously HOPE that *only* qualifications and skills are taken into account in the selection of shuttle crews. A number much HIGHER than this would indicate that maybe the case, wouldn't it?

Given 13% of the population, any given group of 7 people has a 38% chance of NOT containing someone in your magical "pick me" color box.

The mission in 2006 with three black astronauts... well, by random statistics, that would be highly unlikely, seeing that they comprise just 13% of the population (only about a 5% probability of finding 3 on a crew). On the whole, "people of color" are actually represented MORE than their constituent 13% should dictate over the last several years. Maybe I should write the anti-defamation league. That's not fair!!!!!!!!!!!!

Or maybe you're just full of hot air?

So, next time you choose to gripe, perhaps you should do it with a tad more deference to reality rather than some fairy tale rainbow-circus world.

Posted by Matt September 2, 08 04:52 PM

I've loved the space program since I watched John Glenn launch in the early sixties. These photos are awesome and so are the multitudes of people working on the program. Gotta love them engineers and astronauts!!

I thought #20 looked like a 'Stargate' too. And what about #12: looks like Data to me!

And for Eric Stoller: sweetheart, just take a nap. you'll feel better. really.

As for the crew of STS 125: Godspeed! And thank you NASA!

Posted by Marjorie Brown September 2, 08 06:45 PM

Your article might have mentioned that, in the photos we see, The Hubble Space Telescope and its original instruments, the Shuttle Main Engines, the External Tank, and the Solid Rocket Boosters were all developed out of the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Marshall also had the original underwater neutral buoyancy facility for developing Hubble's crew interfaces and procedures and for training the astronauts.

Posted by Jack September 2, 08 08:59 PM

AllI can say is"FAR OUT, MAN"!!! Spectacular!!!!!!!

Posted by Debra Daniel September 2, 08 09:40 PM

Matt. Please be careful using the word "uppity". It has a long well known history of being followed with the "n" word.

Posted by Clifford September 2, 08 10:12 PM

Um, welcome to 1977 ??!?!

Seriously, how am I supposed to be impressed that we're still flying the ancient space shuttle up there? And for what purpose? Really?

Posted by Patrick Henry September 2, 08 11:33 PM

#71- Why are we still flying the ancient space shuttle you ask? For what purpose? If you must ask, then maybe to answer yourself you should ask (to recall a famous speech from '62): Why climb the highest mountain? Why, 81 years ago, fly the Atlantic? WHY DOES RICE PLAY TEXAS ?!!!............

#71- flying the shuttle all this time has not simply been doing the same 'ol same 'ol on every mission. There has been a tone of research in materials science, biology, chemistry, etc. performed on all these missions that are making the next big steps possible, including the construction of the Int'l Space Station. And the shuttle has just been one component of the NASA and Int'l space program; think of all the robotic and space probe missions launched during this period, from Viking to Phoenix.

The space program was a bit of a victim of its own success by making it harder to top itself, so when the political well evaporated to terminate further luner exploration after Apollo 17, anything after that seem anticlimatic.

Check out the ordinary private efforts underway right now, though:

Google LunarX Prize:

I'd hate to an Apollo site desecrated by a roving robot with a Google logo emblazoned on it, but is that the price of making space more accessible? Did Columbus or Magellen ever envision the QE2 cruising back and forth across the Atlantic and Pacific with such ease (I suppose they did and knew it was just a matter of time).

Why, you have asked? Watch and listen to the man:

Posted by robroy September 3, 08 12:20 AM

Patrick Henry: You mean to tell me you really have no clue as to the advances in medical research provided by various test conducted on the shuttle during space flight. Not too mention other technology advances applied to civilian applications which was originally developed through the NASA space program. If you think this program has not been worth it, you are a fool. The HST has been a gold mine of information also. They plan to add some new technology to the Hubble and I believe, if I remember correctly from when I retired from HST Project support, they are going to replace some gyros with a new state of the art type. With luck, this should keep it going to 2015 and maybe even 2020.

Posted by RRP September 3, 08 01:14 AM

These are just normal processing images from places like and They are great, but they are seen on every shuttle flow.

Posted by John September 3, 08 03:54 AM

Other than the Hubble telescope, manned space "exploration" has been a HUGE waste of money. Space medicine is bogus- nothing important has been learned other than that zero gravity results in bone loss. Would somebody tell me what new medicine, what insight into cancer or heart disease, has come from "space medicine". I do believe in exploring space but this could be done with robots at a tiny fraction of the cost. What a waste!

Posted by Michael Caplow September 3, 08 06:22 AM

Who designed a camera that needs 111 screws to be removed before you can open it ? Presumably the engineer is now designing flat-pack furniture...

As for complaints about expense; with that sort of attitude we'd never have come down from the trees.

Posted by Peetle September 3, 08 07:34 AM

I´ve heard of "Rescue the Rainwoods" or "Rescue the whales" but "Rescue Hubble"? NASA seems to have some serious problems ;)

Oklama from TheJunction

Posted by Oklama TheJunction September 3, 08 09:29 AM

Amazing photos! I hope all goes well with the mission! Aligning optics is a lot of fun :)

Posted by AW September 3, 08 10:37 AM

I work very closely with this crew, and I'm still in awe when I see these types of pictures of them and the vehicle. Thanks so much for sharing them in a public forum.

Because I work in the shuttle program, and strongly believe what I do is important, it makes me extremely proud to read the supportive posts - especially since they greatly outnumber the negative comments. We do incredible things on every mission, unfortunately that's not always "news" that gets front page attention.

Posted by SCT September 3, 08 12:56 PM

Hmm... just because a fella doesn't know all the advances evolving from space flight work doesn't make him a fool. Just makes him uninformed. So educate him politely.

As for why a camera might need 111 screws to take it apart, what do you think would happen if a single part comes loose and flies about? If it touches or bounces with another part, something might break or fail or short out. Now, this isn't like your car misfiring or having a flat tire. If one of the systems fails, everybody probably dies.
"Failure is not an option" is not just a marketing slogan. It's a fact in space flight.

Posted by Wag85 September 3, 08 01:28 PM

I'm impressed with the meticulous maintenance and the skill needed by the crew and everyone associated NASA and with all the shuttle adventures.

God's Speed!

Posted by Richard Marksberry September 3, 08 02:10 PM

Have a great flight, and thanks for getting the HST up and running again. I'd give anything to be there at the launch.

Posted by Lance Taylor September 3, 08 02:36 PM

Amazing photos! And another amazing project in a wonderful attempt to understand our world.

Posted by Laurence Meissner, Concordia University Texas September 3, 08 03:30 PM

Is that Scotty, 2nd from the right?

Posted by David September 3, 08 04:09 PM

It would be nice to keep our race issues on this planet and out of space and the exploration of new world's, that would be wonderful. Peace to all.

Posted by S.M.S September 3, 08 04:59 PM

RE: #76, Peetie
That panel was not designed to be removed in space. It was a sealed panel. It needs to be removed to replace a "non-replaceable" circuit board that has failed.

I'm sure now that future satellites will be more carefully designed for the possibility of in-space repairs. The Hubble was designed for in-space repair for most of the obvious replaceable components. But some components were deemed non reparable, so they have 111 screws, instead of 4 or 5 clips.

RE: #75, Michael
The fact that there is the ingenuity at NASA Human Space Flight to do what was thought impossible, is the main reason we need humans in space, not just robots. Robots have a special place in space where it is too dangerous or tedious or time consuming to send a human. Do you think even today a robot could save it's butt in an Apollo 13 type disaster?

Posted by JG Berson (Toronto) September 3, 08 05:11 PM

#76 Peetle "Who designed a camera that needs 111 screws to be removed before you can open it ?"

It wasn't designed to be servicable. They asked themselves, "This is the last chance we'll get. What can we do?"

I'm sure there was a collective groan when lat out when the screw count was added up, but this is a can do crowd. 1 screw down, 110 screws in the panel, 1 screw down, 109 screws in the panel... 1 screw down 9 screws in the panel.

Posted by Markle September 3, 08 05:14 PM

A couple of corrections:

Photo #14 - This is the PGT, but it's cycling the Soft Capture Mechanism, not installing the WFC3. There are several distinctive features on the SCM that make this obvious to anyone who knows the hardware.

Photo #20 - I had to laugh at this one - the "distinctive" SCM is not even in the picture! You're looking through the Flight Servicing System (FSS), which will hold the SCM until it's installed, but the SCM and mounting brackets are not installed in this picture.

Posted by SCM_insider September 3, 08 05:44 PM

They are all astronauts of color: Orange.

Posted by Freddie September 3, 08 06:09 PM

aw inspiring..but will Hubble see this????

Posted by Raymond September 4, 08 12:23 AM

The space shuttle launch was a human miracle, I am so admire those who involve in the launching, everytime I saw the space shuttle launching on the TV, I was so proud of the human power. I like picture 2.

Posted by Sasha September 4, 08 12:36 AM

I'm an old lady now and ever since I was a kid, (with the exception of the three Awful Events: Apollo, Challenger, and Columbia) I've loved EVERYTHING about space.

I remember sitting and barely managing to hold onto a newspaper - puzzling out the words about the launch of Vanguard in 1957. Explorer and Vanguard primed the pump and seeing Echo with my starry eyes fired my imagination. My soul was fired by the more hard-science science-fiction authors like Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke. My mind was fired by the original Mercury 7.

I can still remember sitting in front of a television with a very grainy black and white picture a month after my wedding and watching a human being step onto the surface of the moon. Ecstasy!

I've gone on Carl Sagan's journey through the Cosmos.

I've journeyed to Mission Control and stood at the lecturn where John F. Kennedy made his historic announcement. I've touched Saturn V rockets. I've stood at the pad where the Apollo Crew sacrificed it all and remembered Grissom, White, and Chaffee. I've stood in the enormous Vehicle Assembly Building at the Cape and I've seen clouds form INSIDE the building.

I've watched as many shuttle missions as I could, cheered every launch, admired the crews and technicians for their bravery and their competence, signed up for newsletters from NASA, JPL, and virtually walk with Spirit and Opportunity as they explore Mars. Incredible!

It won't happen, but my dearest wish before I die is to say hello to Burt Rhutan and get into the space plane that will finally take ME to the edge of space. My heart has been in space all my life; it's only right that my body should follow. *smile*

So you KNOW I enjoyed this website! Thank you so much for putting it in virtual space. *smile*

Posted by C. Dawn Earle September 4, 08 07:00 AM

I enthusiastically echo the comments on #92. I, too, am an old lady who has made that journey.

I LOVED seeing this series of pictures and thinking of all the dreams and aspirations of we who were a part of the audience that JFK was speaking to when he encouraged and championed the space quest.

I absolutely deplore the fact that our national talent, our national efforts, and our national budget has turned to global invasions and continuous occupations of the other citizens of the world instead of furthering our advancement in "the final".

Thanks to whoever put this on the 'net!

Posted by Kaye September 4, 08 10:50 AM

God Bless America's Astronauts wish I was going with you.

John Williams

Posted by John Williams September 4, 08 10:56 AM

The space shuttle atlantis just rolled out of the VAB today , and I was part of that process. I am amazed at the things we do everyday. I am also very proud to be here. The shuttle will be retired soon , and I may be out of a job. But I can tell mt children and grandchildren that I was a part of it. America does not make many products anymore, but there is one thing we do way better then anyone else!! HUMAN SPACE FLIGHT. So now we are ready to give this up too? I sure hope not!!

Posted by John September 4, 08 11:09 AM

I am often struck by the amazment and suprise still expressed by people in a program which has spanned 4 decades. Each launch really is an astonishing feat.

Posted by Barney Linn September 4, 08 12:17 PM

Eric Stoller:
Obsession with people's race is precisely the OPPOSITE of Martin Luther King's dream. I am sorry to inform you that you are a Politically Correct Neo-Racist. That being said... Go Astronauts!

Posted by Mark G September 4, 08 12:32 PM

What an amazing set of pictures,and what brave people to crew such a venture.
As for those who make racial comments, "Wake up to the world", Crew members must be selected on technical ability and not on some politically correct basis

Posted by Robert Flemington September 5, 08 04:11 AM

I think it is criminal that the reusable shuttle is being retired and replaced by an Apollo type small cramped capsule atop a big old rocket. Instead of moving forward, NASA is regressing, going backwards in time to technology that was displaced 30 odd years ago!

As always, the photo's here are great.

Posted by Jojo September 5, 08 04:44 AM

Why the Scottish flags on the side of the shuttle?

Alba go brath

Posted by William Wallace September 5, 08 02:21 PM

We have come exceedingly far since I worked on the Lunar Module Radars at Grumman Bethpage, NY. How proud it makes me to have been a contributor at such an early stage of our space venture.

Posted by John McIntosh Sadler September 5, 08 02:28 PM

I love how people get so fired up from a random dumbasses comments. This is a great collection of pics!

Posted by Ian September 5, 08 02:33 PM

Awesome, inspiring photos! Makes me want to be there! Thanks so much for sharing!

Posted by Sharon Albanese September 5, 08 06:19 PM

My brother is an engineer for the Applied Physics Lab at JHU (Columbia, MD) where they completed vibration & shock tests on the tools the astronauts will be using on this mission. I am so proud that someone I love has had just a small part in this launch, it brings tears to my eyes! Not to mention the strength, intelligence and courage of the 7 astronauts that will use those tools in space.

Space flight is so unbelievably cool, so amazing and incredible. When I look out my window into my back yard and up at the sky, it's just astounding to think that we actually GO THERE.

God Speed and peace.

Posted by Bonnie Grove September 5, 08 06:22 PM

somebody knows where to bay a DVD HQ abuot this??
I am looking for NASA documentary DVD "space shuttle Building & Assembly" and I could not find enithing


Posted by SAM September 5, 08 09:07 PM

Martin Luther King's dream
and what about his nightmare...

what are RAP culture & RAP music all about...??

that is roght marketing to themselves
that is not a truth??


Posted by GUANCHE.FREE September 5, 08 09:25 PM

My son Alan has created this wonderful series of photo essays. He has discovered a venue that allows him to interact with the world that fascinates him. As many have noted, it is not just the rich and substantive photos that he selects, it is the opportunity to thoughtfully explore topics that we might otherwise have missed. Most of his followers share his wonderment of this place we all share. Some out there could do some work on forgiveness and understanding. For example, this piece is about the space program. Why hijack it for race relations? You can be sure that if a current event highlights race relation issues, Alan will find a thoughtful and sensitive way to depict where we seem to be. His work stands on its own merit.
Needless to say, his friends and family are delightfully pleased and proud. Look forward to each piece and hope he shares his perspectives so long as it makes him happy. Love you son.

Posted by Mike Taylor September 6, 08 01:17 PM

...nasa, as in all human endevours is just as fallable - we learn from
our mistakes and hard as it may be we must move on - as always, it
does not matter who goes on the missions themselves - it only matters
that they return safely to do it again another day...i had hoped that we
would have had bases on mars by now - before i pass on - i'm 52 -
but it is unfortunate that many people send too much time on personal
greed, resulting in war, thus hindering space progress

Posted by goth1856 September 6, 08 02:25 PM

Sweet photos, there are some amazing photos on this site. I love them all!

Posted by Jakub September 6, 08 03:45 PM

Fabulous pictures!

May God Bless and keep safe all the people working on the space program and the brave astronauts who have devoted their lives to making discoveries that will benefit mankind.

Posted by Barbara September 6, 08 07:44 PM

Excellent!! Heck of an engine hoist!!!

Posted by Manuel S. Enos September 6, 08 07:51 PM

Rock and Roll kids!

Posted by ToTheStars September 7, 08 02:42 AM

After touring KSC this spring, it's really especially nice to see it up close. At least we understand what a pay load is and Vehicly Assembly Building, as well as
Hubble telescope. It's hard to believe there are so few missions left. We have a whole new respect for all of you. We are forever amazed with your work . God bless each and everyone of you.

Posted by Vince & Karen LeZotte September 7, 08 09:50 AM

Is ther anyone who has some space things like photographes etc
My small cousin is collecting and I try to help him .

Posted by Git September 7, 08 12:25 PM

Amazing photos. I find these prints about our aeronautics very informative.

Posted by John Drenth September 8, 08 08:29 AM

It never ceases to amaze me the intelligence of the individuals that make these shuttles and the bravery of the astronauts that are willing to give their lives for the benefit of mankind. God Bless & keep each and everyone safe as they travel through space.

Posted by Joan F Kelly September 8, 08 09:08 AM

those are awesome pictures!

Posted by margo September 8, 08 12:01 PM

It's compltely amazing and I am longing to see a shuttle launch or a landing there, before I die. So I can say I have lived...and it is worth all...

Posted by totó September 8, 08 03:23 PM

I just have to comment on how great it was seeing Eric "I Am A Racist Myself" Stoller getting absolutely floored by his totally unwarranted and 100% ridiculous comments regarding racism in NASA. Anyone who follows the space program knows that NASA has an outstanding record when it comes to fair representation in regards to race. I am so sick of seeing the race card pulled out especially in places like this. The ignorance that it requires to accuse NASA of such unfair prcatices is absolutely staggering. It shows that not only are such people utterly clueless about the space program but also completely incapable of doing any sort of research on such topics before making such outlandish claims.

The only racist I see in here is you Eric and again it was absolutely beatiful seeing you get your you know what handed to you in brilliant fashion. It brings a new meaning to the term owned. I guess thats probably why you quickly disappeared and havent come back since. Good riddance as this quality website doesnt need people like that.

To the people that destroyed Eric's comments, Very nice job indeed!!

As for the pictures, absolutely fantastic stuff. Being a photographer myself and one who has dreamed of having photographic access to such facilities, well these shots make me want to go there and shoot just that much more. As good as these pictures are I would really love to see someone shoot large format in places like these. The additional detail would make them absolutely stunnning.

Posted by OrangeCrush September 8, 08 10:46 PM

Eric.....just a little clue.......You're an Idiot.

A super accomplishment by AMERICA and you throw a race card in the mix.

Now, go get you Food Stamp card and your WIC card and go get some free groceries from Star Market for all the little liberal kids you and your many concubines have fostered.

Please don't forget to buy condoms this time.

Posted by You got told September 9, 08 10:04 AM


Posted by Gerri Beaugrand September 9, 08 11:15 AM

The space program has brought us so many things that we take for granted in daily life. We all realize the expenses, but where would we be without this program. Firemen would not have the protection they do without this program, to name just one item among thousands.

If we can dream it, we can do it. This program shows that sentiment.

Posted by Russ September 9, 08 06:13 PM

Reply to #16......Comments like yours usually come from stupid people !
You don't have to do a ton of research, to figure out why there aren't an abundance of people of color in NASA or many other high tech positions......Just check out Bill Cosby's comments on Oprah recently.......... He said, "The high school DROP OUT RATE ( For people of color ) IS ASTRONOMICAL" !!!! So tell me Eric, should we put them right into the space program, as soon as they drop out, and hope that they catch on ???? Get a life !.....Get a job !.......Get educated before you mouth off !

Posted by Les

Posted by Les Madaus September 9, 08 09:30 PM

Wow. I had no idea that my initial comment or my follow-up comment would generate such a flurry of racist rhetoric. I responded on my blog (since Alan doesn't want race + NASA to be discussed on this post).

Posted by Eric Stoller September 10, 08 01:31 AM

be safe & GOD bless!

Posted by Sharon Fischer (Sis In Law) September 10, 08 10:22 PM

I could never realize how much work and training people have put into this!!!!

Posted by warren September 13, 08 10:45 AM

What a great bunch of pictures and DROP THE COLOR THING

Posted by robert w September 13, 08 05:23 PM

My Dream job..........

I must have been the youngest kid to read a space book... oh well.

Posted by TareX September 14, 08 01:21 PM

Awesome pictures. Drew Feustel is a friend of mine and my son's. They graduated from high school together.
You go Drew! So proud of you and I will be there to see you go. Thanks!
Congratulations to the whole crew.
Pat Parkin

Posted by Pat Parkin September 14, 08 11:08 PM

Me encantan sus fotografias son de lo mejor ¡¡¡¡

Posted by William September 15, 08 06:50 PM

May I suggest that the flaming over race is unseemly and the remarks in comments 119, 120 and 122, among others, are truly obnoxious? Are you people so ill-bred you can't disagree civilly? We're all entitled to sensitivity about certain subjects without being beaten about the head and shoulders about it.

Some have suggested the crews are chosen as those most qualified. I think all the astronauts are incredibly qualified for almost everything, and cross-train, but they do specialize in particular areas and there is a degree of rotation among the number of qualified for a particular mission, not to have only one or two experienced in actual spaceflight. That practice tends to remove race and gender bias all by itself. I don't think a woman or person of color would be passed over for a job for those reasons when he/she might indeed be the most qualified.

Now. This is supposed to be a discussion about the space mission, isn't it? Can we leave the discussion about race for a more appropriate topicc?

Posted by Jean Geezer September 16, 08 09:44 AM

I want to see this thing fly before I die! My dream job, working for NASA!!

Posted by Suzi Lane September 16, 08 02:54 PM

Amazing pictures.

Posted by Rosemarie Lusty September 18, 08 01:37 PM

How come we can accomplish all that, but can not balance our budget?

Posted by Henry Stern September 20, 08 12:58 PM

Have a nice flight, guys From the Netherlands!
be safe & GOD bless!

Posted by Rolf van Zuiden September 21, 08 02:33 AM

Am I the only one who, upon seeing photo number 2, pictured Slim Pickens astraddle a bomb?

It's inspiring that the outcome of the cold war was this immense investment in technology which is now used for peaceful, scientific purposes. Godspeed, STS-125!

Posted by Myself248 September 21, 08 02:56 PM

WOW! Great pictures of some amazing PEOPLE and equipment.
God Bless each and every one of you!
On a sad note: I made a real mistake reading the comments! what started out as great started to sound like

God Bless America
God Bless Our Troops

Posted by Bill Hamblin September 21, 08 04:49 PM

Looks like that thing is twin-turboed!@!

Posted by w September 23, 08 11:55 AM

A wonderful friend of mine made sure that I would be able to see these spellbounding pictures. I was breathless watching the marvellous photography. Thank you ever sooooooo! much.

Posted by Donna Burget September 24, 08 07:13 PM

As for the photos, outstanding. As for the color and race comments, get over it.

Posted by John Bailey September 26, 08 05:25 PM

#30. The right thing for the wrong reasons. When will we ever learn?

Posted by Another amateur astronomer September 27, 08 01:13 PM

God bless America"s Astronauts,God bless NASA people,and..........
my best wishes from SUDAN

Posted by Hamdi mursi salih September 27, 08 08:00 PM

Just imagine what could have been accomplished if this money had been spent on developing alternate fuel systems. Instead of studying a little closer the same thing we have known for years,we could have been thumbing our noses at the Arabs and their oil.You can bet that this program has been making billionaires out of Bush's buddies.The closest next habital solar system is over 4 light year miles away and is impossible to reach. Alpha Centrai is 23.6 Trillion miles away.

Posted by James Decker September 27, 08 08:55 PM

new world can also form

Posted by jaideep singh September 28, 08 06:42 AM

God bless America"s Astronauts,God bless NASA people,and..........
my best wishes from SUDAN

Posted by Hamdi mursi salih September 28, 08 08:01 PM

God Bless America's Astronauts & wish my next life i will be a part of them .

Debasis Biswas, New Delhi , India

Posted by Debasis Biswas October 3, 08 07:26 AM

I was part of "Apollo" - Saturn" program in New Orleans / Mississippi and have fond memories of my time with the space program. Thankfull for the opportunity..

Posted by Robert Edward TRraill November 5, 08 12:53 PM

I have to agree, the accomplishments achieved by the space program have been impressive. but, we must adhere to the belief that success is not a plateau. It is time to refocus the exhibited engineering brilliance in another direction...fuel alternatives and efficiencies. It is a matter of Patriotism. Sure, many will bash this position, but we all know that if all of this imtelligence were focused singularly on ending our relaice on our enemies's natural will make both america and the world a better and safer and cleaner place. Spending billions to sniff mars dust just is not cutting it anymore.

Posted by Joe Don Nugget November 13, 08 09:41 PM

From a practical standpoint, we have gone as far as we can (or should) with manned space flight. Kudos to the brave pioneers. But times and goals change. The Hubble project was the crowning glory to a fascinating epic, IMHO. Why they didn't base more equipment sooner beyond the contamination of the atmosphere still puzzes me. Our future "space exploration" should lie in the installation of more giant "sensing scopes" tuned to non-visible spectrums, and in the depth of our future mathematical and astrophysical analytical abilities. We must not stop seeking knowledge of the universe, but it is time to reallign our method. We also need to adapt to the reality that we are, and will remain, physically trapped in our Solar System.

Posted by J.J.Simmons November 14, 08 12:43 PM

Great pics. Having worked in the space program in years past, I feel I need to throw in my 2-cents. To #92 and #93, although not quite 'old' yet (I won't admit it anyway), I also took that journey and was inspired enough to become an engineer and work for the company that makes those incredible shuttle main engines shown in the first few photos -- I still treasure the years spent working there.

For those who say it's all a waste of money, you're both right and wrong. The advancements in materials science, electronics, optics, safety systems, sensors, computation, communication, etc. are brought to you by the scientists and engineers working to solve the problems that must be overcome to just put a human (or machine) into space and/or on the surface of another world. The spin-offs from those advancements have touched every aspect of all of our lives in positive ways most don't even recognize. That's the role of government science programs -- discover solutions to problems too big for private industry. Also remember that the money you say is "wasted" supports the lives thousands and thousands of people just like you -- it puts food on their tables and clothes on their backs. Very little of that money is simply "thrown into space". Think about it, even the raw materials that we "throw" into space has a postive effect on people here on earth -- titanium is refined in a plant that employees people; a miner somewhere in the world is paid a salary for running the equipment that digs titanium ore out of the ground with machines that were designed and built by another company that employees even more people. All those people can buy groceries and clothing from a local market that is owned and operated by more people because NASA needed some titanium to build a space station... get it?

Ok, that being said, at some point NASA needs to realize that their charter is to push into the unknown and develop solutions for problems we don't even know about yet. Running a "space business" is the job of private enterprise. Yes, it'll be odd when "Google" stickers adorn the side of a robot on Mars but that has to happen for the worlds outside of this one to be truely opened up to the masses. However, NASA shouldn't stop doing it, and we shouldn't stop funding it, until that happens.

Ok, I'm off my soap-box now... thanks for reading.

Posted by Kevin Schoonover November 21, 08 02:25 PM

Good evening. Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.
I am from African and learning to read in English, tell me right I wrote the following sentence: "Sake of it and come back fast belive me this will make you feel doing your regular regime."

Thanks :p. Kirsi.

Posted by Kirsi February 23, 09 12:24 AM


Posted by CAROLINA April 17, 09 05:10 PM

Simply AWESOME !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Keith April 24, 09 10:44 AM

that is cool you did a good job nasa those pictures are cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Did it go okay in space what were you thinking when you were in space??????
when i grow up i want to do what you did and done and will do

Posted by alexis leffew May 14, 09 06:11 PM

I visited this site to see the pictures, which are awesome. NASA is something that you Americans should be very proud of and one of the reasons why I always argue that the widely and popularly predicted demise of the USA is just so much wishful thinking on the part of the non-performing nations of the world. My country, South Africa, sadly chooses to be a member of this club.

Having viewed the pictures, I was highly amused to read the heated debate regarding the composition of the crew. I thought we were the only people still obsessed with racial bean counting. Thanks guys! I feel better now.

Posted by Koos May 19, 09 09:40 AM

Those are Great photos. Growing up with the NASA space program and always wanting more, up close visuals, these help in that endeavor for better material on the matter. The shuttle has been great; Rockwell did a great job of building her. It’s sad to see the retirement of her airframe. Especially since when we left the Saturn rocket program Arian rockets continued threw the Russian and French to be successful in business. Those rockets seem to have done very well by all outward appearance. With the cost to do business in space Hopefully NASA can keep the edge to endeavor toward worthy projects that will continue to inspire mankind in there flight to explore the unknown and taking advantage of the many opportunities out there. America has been giving so much of its self away. The bottom line that makes these programs work is funding. Hopefully Thiokol can continue to find business for there solid booster program. There are a lot of new things to discover. Blowing up satellites and drawing property lines in space like the arctic hopefully won’t be the front page news of the future. When a program ends we should consider other uses of using that technology. It would be like maintaining orbiting moons of obsolete space junk. After all it the weight that helps to maintain the satellites orbit. We should probably send a retired shuttle to the French to place next to the Wright Flyer. (I like the idea of the French liking us for a moment.)

Posted by Fred Daynes May 21, 09 01:35 PM

My cousin sent this email to me and it is very interesting. His son, "skip" works at the cape . Keep up the good work at the cape-we depend on you all.

Posted by Ruth Palmer May 27, 09 05:17 PM

very good idia

Posted by imran August 5, 09 11:35 AM

Hi, tell me please, I am now in Greece, and my parents are in Zvenigorod how to help them so they called me cheap? I found just such a story, maybe someone tried a similar service, or heard of him? Tell me please whether this actually real?

Posted by biofinmerserm May 7, 11 06:03 AM
  • Pin It
  • E-mail
  • E-mail this article

    Invalid E-mail address
    Invalid E-mail address

    Sending your article

    Your article has been sent.