Lessons Learned from the Missions to Save Hubble

The story of the Hubble Space Telescope – the first major optical telescope placed in space – is one of initial disappointment and ultimate success. Shortly after deploying Hubble in 1990, NASA learned that a mirror aberration greatly reduced the clarity of the telescope’s images. Over the course of 16 years, 5 servicing missions were conducted. The mirror aberration was corrected on the first servicing mission, with each follow-on mission extending both the life and the discovery potential of the telescope. Now in operation for more than 25 years, Hubble is the most productive scientific instrument ever built. It has made more than 1.4 million observations and generated data that has led to more than 16,000 scientific paper. In this VPMC session, Scott “Scooter” Altman will share lessons learned during his command of the final two Hubble servicing missions. ***Scooter will take your questions in a live segment following the prerecorded interview, moderated by Deana Nunley. *** Scott “Scooter” Altman is a former NASA astronaut who has spent more than 51 days in space, over four missions. He was commander of STS-109 and STS-125, the final two servicing missions for the Hubble Space Telescope, which involved complex spacewalks, delicate repairs and extensive updates to increase the telescope’s lifespan. He was the pilot of STS-90 and STS-106. Altman is now senior vice president of civil operations for the ASRC Federal Engineering, Aerospace and Mission Systems (EAMS) operating group, where he is responsible for the group’s financial and technical performance, providing leadership in setting and executing operating plans and delivering on commitments to NASA, NOAA and FAA customers. Before becoming an astronaut, Altman famously performed aerial stunts while doubling as Tom Cruise’s character in the 1985 movie “Top Gun.” An accomplished pilot, Altman has logged more than 7,000 hours in more than 40 types of aircraft. He was awarded a Flight/Strike Air Medal by the U.S. Navy for his role as a strike leader flying over Southern Iraq in support of Operation Southern Watch. Altman earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the University of Illinois. He was commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Navy in August 1981. He holds a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School.