Inner Story of the Launching of Hubble Space Telescope
Space is unlimited and still, no one is able to calculate what the exact size of the universe is. According to researchers, the diameter of the entire universe is 23 trillion light-years which are not constant like the above data. There are different researchers who deny this fact. Therefore, still, the area of the universe is disputed and undecided.
One thing is for sure that the universe is massive and it needs a number of zeros to calculate the distance from one end to another. The number of zeroes would make anyone writing them with a character limit feel so nervous. To get a proper idea of the scale, it is probable that the light can’t reach the other end of the universe from one end in the lifetime of the universe. Needless to mention, the light travels approximately 5.8 trillion miles in a light-year in space.
Space was interesting from the initial stage for humans. Different civilizations on the earth use their available resources and knowledge to measure space but still, the result is unknown. However, present-day science and technology has gone a step forward and launched the Hubble Space Telescope to space for orbiting the earth and it has been providing a clear picture of deep space for three long decades. Due to the Hubble Space Telescope, human knowledge regarding space has been extended to 94 billion light-years. This is known as an observatory in the sky and is going to be replaced by Webb Space Telescope in near future.
Hubble was the first major optical telescope to be placed in space and it works distortion of the clouds and earth’s atmosphere. The images that Hubble Telescope has sent to earth are superb and no one was able to get such detailed photographs earlier.
Dr. Steven Hawley was one of the team members who were responsible for developing and launching the Hubble Space Telescope to lower earth orbit. Giving an interview with online casino Betway, Dr. Hawley says that, “for three decades, Hubble has been orbiting the earth”.
“This telescope was revolutionary for the entire astronomy fraternity. For more so than at least I had predicted it could be. It was very much important”.
Now working as the director of engineering physics and a professor of astronomy and physics at Kansas University, Dr. Steven Hawley was very much involved in that project and knows the project more than others.
This 69-year-old space veteran had spent almost 770 hours and 27 minutes which is more than 32 days in combined space and this time was spanning across five separate space shuttles. However, he was closely associated with the Hubble Space Telescope mission in 1990 and its maintenance mission in the year 1997.
However, for Dr. Hawley, his personal journey to outer space was one that initially thought would never get off from the ground.
He says, “I was interested in the space program when I was a kid and knew about Al Shephard launched when I was in the fifth standard. However, I was never thought I could have become an astronaut in the future because they were all military test pilots and I wanted to be an astronomer”.
“It was quite obvious that I didn’t have the necessary skill set to be successful because I had never flown a single place before joining NASA” says Dr. Hawley. He had joined NASA after seeing an advertisement on the bulletin board at the University of California while studying for the Doctorate in the year 1977. This was the first step towards his journey to the stars.
Launching and developing the Hubble Space Telescope was not as straightforward as it seems and after that, the launching had created history for the entire humankind.
Remembering the initial launching days, Dr. Hawley says, “This project was need special time and proper place to be launched”.
He further says that “when I was selected for NASA, it wasn’t obvious I was going for the space”.
Dr. Hawley was eventually assigned to his career’s first mission in the year 1983 which was nearly five years after joining NASA. “The preparation involves different aspects,” he says.
Dr. Hawley says “the way the cockpit works, for launch and entering at least, is if you have a three-person team including officials like a commander, the pilot, and the flight engineer. I was always working as the flight engineer and sat behind and between the commander and the pilot. I thoroughly enjoyed that role”.
“My responsibility was to help both pilot and commander through the ascent and initial entry procedures which were not the normal procedures but in the event, we had a problem. This gave an opportunity to learn about the shuttles and their working style.” He says in the interview.
“For the two Hubble Missions, in addition to being a flight engineer for the launch and entry, I was the main robot arm operator. I was responsible for lifting the Hubble Space Telescope from the payload bay and releasing it to space. Though it sounds easy this was challenging because the success of the mission was entirely dependent on it.”
Dr. Hawley says “there was not any collision-avoidance software to prevent collision so, you need to use your skill to avoid any type of avoidance and you have to work as the avoidance person. You don’t want to drive the telescope into the orbiter. We have multiple displays there that give us minute details about the position and orientation but initially, I was looking for the window”.
He further says “you are dealing with the fact that you have got to think about where your feet are. If they are not anchored properly, you are going to float away or you are going lose your pencil”.
“When you are in a weightless position, it leads to different types of psychological reactions including nausea,” Dr. Hawley says.
“If you are upside down inside the spacecraft, your eyes are telling you that you are upside down but the inner-ear doesn’t sense it” he says.