Astronauts replace gyroscopes, give Hubble new batteries
Friday, May 15th 2009, 12:39 pm
By: News 9
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- NASA is hoping today's spacewalk will be a relatively straightforward job of replacing Hubble's misbehaving gyroscopes.
Two astronauts are on Atlantis' second spacewalk to replace the parts that help point the telescope in the right direction. Only one of the orbiting observatory's six gyroscopes is working properly. Astronauts will also give Hubble some fresh batteries.
Six-foot-tall Michael Massimino will have to squeeze his frame into Hubble to install the new gyroscopes. He tinkered with the telescope back in 2002.
He's also been tweeting from space during this mission under the name "Astro--Mike."
While his tweets have made it back to Earth, a communication breakdown led to a brief scare during today's spacewalk. For a minute or two, no one could hear Massimino.
Space debris is abundant in Hubble's orbit, and Atlantis and its crew face a greater than usual risk of being slammed by a piece of junk.