In the same year that the Hubble Space Telescope was deployed, NASA launched the first of two space shuttle missions dedicated to astronomy and astrophysics research. Now, three years later, the hardware that made up the Astro1 mission (and its 1995 follow-up Astro2) is being recycled, assembled, and repaired for display in the museum.

Astro Restoration Project, a volunteer activity supported by commercial sponsors, the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and Smithsonian, is now moving towards the restoration of STS35 (and STS67) mission hardware Go to the original state of the goal progress state. Many of the people involved in the project are retired NASA employees who have configured payloads for the launch.

“In 1985, when preparing for the Astro1, I was the one who first installed these boxes,” Mike Haddad, a former NASA mechanical engineer and member of the restoration project, said in an interview with NASA. Haddad refers to the remote acquisition unit, a device used to send signals from the Astro hardware to the space shuttle and then back to Earth.

“Doing the same operation in 35 years? It’s like coming home,” he said. Around
– The top is the Astro cross before restoration in November 2020. At the bottom is the cross shape that was restored at the US Space and Rocket Center in March 2021. Around
: At the top is the cross-shaped Astro before restoration in November 2020. At the bottom is the cross shape that was restored at the US Space and Rocket Center in March 2021. (Image source: Astro Restoration Project)

is fixed in the space shuttle’s payload bay using two Spacelab paddles developed by the European Space Agency (ESA). The Astro payload includes three ultraviolet telescopes mounted on an aluminum frame. The component is then installed on a combing three-axis drilling rig called the Spacelab instrument aiming system, which provides the accuracy and stability required for imaging astronomical objects. The
Astro repair project has been able to restore 90% of the original hardware.

Three ultraviolet telescopes were sent to key researchers at Johns Hopkins University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Smithsonian claimed that the pointer system is part of the collection of the National Air and Space Museum.
“Usually, when flying hardware returns to Earth, NASA repairs or repairs it for other missions, or strips and disassembles components for other purposes,” Haddad said.

In unique or “special mission” situations, many of them are auctioned through government surplus auctions. This is the fate of the fourth telescope in Astro1, the BroadBand X-ray Telescope (BBXRT), which was sold on eBay by its owner only five years ago. (BBXRT, which only flew once, was installed on a separate guidance system that was fixed to its own frame in the space shuttle’s payload bay.)

was accidentally found at an auction house in North Alabama 8 feet x 8 feet (2.4 feet) x 2.4 m), 3,000 lb (1,360 kg) or cross-shaped aluminum frame. Similarly, an optical sensor package that helped fix the telescope to the same observation point in space was found in a garbage dump in Titusville, Florida.
“It’s still in the original shipping box,” said Scott Vangen, repair project leader and backup payload specialist for the Astro2 mission.
Retired NASA engineer Mike Haddad (Mike Haddad) inspects the cruciform Astro during the reform in the United States. The Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
Retired NASA engineer Mike Haddad (Mike Haddad) inspects the cruciform Astro during the reform in the United States. The Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

(Image source: Astro Restoration Project)
enters the scene in stages.

Although is restored, the cruciform is in very poor condition. Using the space and rocket center provided by the United States, dozens of civil servant volunteers and contractors worked hard to remove the rotten insulation blanket, gently clean the debris with a toothbrush, and clean other parts with electricity.
The team also received help in the manufacture of replacement brackets and other small items for students in NASA’s HUNCH (High School that Created Hardware in Cooperation with NASA) project, which teaches practical hardware design and manufacturing techniques in more than 200 schools across the country.

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The mission procedure record obtained from the property of the former astronomical engineer also assists in the restoration. The registry has identified hundreds of detailed drawings and schematics that break down each component, which can then be found, scanned, and provided to the project team by the archivist at the Marshall Space Flight Center.

“If you don’t have documentation, keeping the hardware is academic,” Vangen said. “We need the original drawings to reassemble these parts.”
After four months of hard work, the “first phase” of the restoration project was completed, and the restored cruciform was exhibited in the United States. Space and Rocket Center in April. The next stage of
will be the reinstallation of the refurbished optical sensor package and the first of the three telescopes, the Wisconsin Ultraviolet Polarimeter Experiment, which is scheduled to meet with the cross this fall. Then they will join the remaining two ultraviolet telescopes to complete the screen.

The restored cruciform Astro will be on display at the American Rocket and Space Center until at least 2023, until the Smithsonian is ready to display it and its Spacelab components, including the pointer system and propeller F, at the Steven National Air and Space Museum. UdvarHazy Center is located in Northern Virginia.
“Payloads and deployable devices like Hubble have rewrote science books, but they will never return to Earth, and they will never be shown as what we can achieve,” Vangen said. “With Astro, our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be able to play hardware that flies into space and goes down in history.”

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