Hubble Gets Tucked In


After pointing you to those neat-o Hubble holiday cards, I thought you'd enjoy this new story about our favorite telescope: Hubble's getting wrapped up.

Along with installing new gyrocompasses and batteries, one of the aims of the fifth and final servicing mission to the Hubble, scheduled for August 7, is to put on a new outer thermal blanket. “Thermal blankets are to spacecraft as clothes are to people,â€? Mike Weiss, Hubble’s technical deputy program manager, says on NASA's website. “Just as clothes cover our skin and help protect us from nature's elements . . . the cold winter wind and the scorching summer sun, thermal blankets protect Hubble from the harsh environment of space.â€?

Hubble's sweater is made not of cashmere, but 16 layers of dimpled aluminum with an outer Teflon skin. Above, NASA technician Brenda Estavia cuts a piece of this aluminum kapton film. Some of the Goddard technicians who make space blankets have designing backgrounds in furniture upholstery, costume designing and even ice skating costume-making.

Check out this video of the Hubble engineers at Goddard Space Flight Center practicing for the spacewalks they'll make in August.


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