STS -61 (English Space Transportation System) is a mission name for the U.S. Space Shuttle Endeavour NASA. The launch took place on 2 December 1993. It was the 59th Space Shuttle mission and the fifth flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

STS -61 was the first servicing mission for the Hubble Space Telescope. The main objective was to prove that Hubble can be serviced in orbit. For this, the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 ( WFPC -2) and COSTAR ( Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement) installed in the telescope were /. In addition, two sets were replaced gyroscopes and replaced the solar collectors. For the first time five exits were conducted during a shuttle flight, including the second-longest by then.

  • 3.1 Start
  • 3.2 rendezvous and capture
  • 3.3 Working on Hubble
  • 3.4 Launching and return


Home team

  • Richard Covey (4th space flight), Commander
  • Kenneth Bowersox ( 2nd space flight), Pilot
  • Story Musgrave ( fifth space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Kathryn Thornton ( third space flight ), Mission Specialist
  • Claude Nicollier ( second space flight), Mission Specialist (ESA / Switzerland )
  • Jeffrey Hoffman ( fourth space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Thomas Akers ( third space flight), Mission Specialist


  • Gregory Harbaugh for Akers, Hoffman, Musgrave and Thornton


After their final mission STS -57 Endeavour was brought back to the Orbiter Processing Facility, where in addition to the routine Nachinspektionen and repairs the Spacelab module and the EURECA satellite were retrieved from the payload bay. The Endeavour was transferred on 21 October to the Vehicle Assembly Building and mounted on associated with the solid rocket External Tank. The shuttle was then driven to the launch on 28 October 39 A.

On October 30, pulled away a heavy storm over Cape Canaveral, the damage to the payload changeout room, a clean room area of ​​the launch site, on which access to the payload bay of the space shuttle is possible left behind. To order as quickly as possible start with the repairs, it was decided the Endeavour of starting system 39 B to start. The second roll Around the shuttle history took place on 15 November.

On 18 November, an error occurred in the hydraulic system of the chassis. A so-called "delta -p transducer" failed. Since only this one turned out four and only three differential-pressure transducers are required for the start, for not using a rollback of the Shuttle Orbiter Processing Facility to.

The crew arrived on November 27 at the Kennedy Space Center, and shortly thereafter began the countdown.

Mission overview


The first launch attempt on 1 December was canceled due to bad weather for an emergency landing at the Shuttle Landing Facility. Furthermore, there was a ship in the Solid Rocket Booster landing zone. It was decided, a day later the start to try again. The second launch attempt, there were no problems and so the Endeavour on December 2, could leave at 09:27 UTC direction Hubble. Two minutes after launch, the solid rocket boosters were jettisoned after eight minutes, the main engines were shut down and dropped after 10 seconds, the external tank.

Rendezvous and capture

On the second day of flying several engine start were carried out in order to increase the speed of approach to Hubble. Furthermore, the space suits and the robot arm of the shuttle were checked for functionality. In addition, the air pressure in the cabin has been reduced by 45% in order to prevent space sickness at the exits.

At the beginning of the third flight day it was Jeffrey Hoffman possible to detect Hubble means of a binocular. He noted the possibility that one of Hubble's solar panels had bent by 90 °. Another series engine start brought the Endeavour just a few kilometers behind Hubble. From there, Richard Covey took over manual control and brought the Endeavour first into a position below Hubble. From there, he maneuvered it to about ten meters closer to Hubble. At 8:48 UTC Claude Nicollier caught it with a robot arm and put it 38 minutes in a holder in the payload bay one.

Working on Hubble

Only six hours later, the first outdoor use with the astronauts Story Musgrave and Jeffrey Hoffman began. Two gyroscope units were exchanged, which serve to align and stabilize the telescope. Then the electronic units were exchanged for controlling the gyroscopes. In addition, eight fuses were replaced. This exit took 7 hours and 50 minutes. There were problems opening the access doors that EVA lasted longer than planned and was the second longest exit in the history of NASA.

The next day (fifth day of flying ) which built by the ESA solar cells were replaced by Thomas Akers and Kathryn C. Thornton. The first panel could not be rolled because of a kink. Therefore, it was dismantled during the night phase of the orbit and thrown upon entry into the daylight exuberant and "sailed " away slowly. Thereafter, the new solar panel has been installed. The second panel was rolled, dismantled and stowed to bring it for later analysis by the ESA back to earth. After this, the second new panel was installed and completed the outdoor use after six and a half hours.

The sixth day of flying brought the expansion of the WFPC camera ( Wide Field Planetary Camera ) by Story Musgrave, who was supported by Jeffrey Hoffman. The WPFC was replaced by a more powerful camera and its own corrective optics. In addition, magnetic field sensors were "compass " of the telescope, replaced. They had probably been damaged by UV radiation.

On the seventh day of flying the COSTAR corrective optics was during the fourth EVA by Thornton and Akers installed for the failure of the primary mirror ( Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement), every unit of the telescope (except for WFPC2, has its own correction ) corrects the beam path and back sharp images possible. In addition, the on-board computer with additional memory and a co-processor has been upgraded. Only six weeks after the installation of the " Hubblebrille " could be verified whether the correction really worked.

On the eighth day of flying the replacement of the drive electronics of the solar panels was carried out, again with Musgrave and Hoffman. Then the electronics were activated and after many difficulties and a few Anschubsern by the astronauts, the solar power stations deployed at last, and stood up from the sun.

Exposure and return

On the ninth day of flying the space telescope was switched to internal power supply. In the event of unforeseen problems, there were plans for two more field work. However, there were no objections, and the release for the launching of the satellite has been granted by the ground station in Houston. Claude Nicollier raised it with the robotic arm back out of the cargo bay out and left him until the next visit of STS- 82 back himself