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UTC Aerospace Systems celebrates the 25th anniversary of Hubble Space Telescope's launch

04/15/2015 | UTC Aerospace Systems

UTC Aerospace Systems is celebrating its involvement in the successful mission and 25th Anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) launch.

HST is NASA's largest space borne optical telescope and one of the most successful scientific missions in history. UTC Aerospace Systems' employees in Danbury, Connecticut, played a significant role in developing and building this pioneering telescope, which has helped mankind's understanding of the nature of our expanding universe. It has also provided observations leading to new theories and greater understanding of our solar system and distant planets. UTC Aerospace Systems is a unit of United Technologies Corp.

"We are honored to have played such a significant role in the development of the Hubble Space Telescope and to have supported the multiple service missions that ultimately enabled the observatory to operate much longer than the original expectation of ten years," said Andreas Nonnenmacher, General Manager, Space Systems.

UTC Aerospace Systems contributions included several ground-breaking technical advancements that ensured mission success. Its use of advanced composite structures for the metering truss, focal plane structure and the three Fine Guidance Sensors (FGS) yielded unprecedented dimensional stability on-orbit and predictable ground-to-orbit changes. To protect against the extreme temperatures of space, the precise passive and active thermal control elements resulted in temperature stability within each FGS to less than 0.1 degree Fahrenheit over each orbit.

The FGSs are integral to mission success as they sense when the HST starts to drift off the science target. The sensors are so sensitive that the drift they would sense is equivalent to detecting the width of a human hair more than four miles away. The FGSs send this information to the pointing control system provided by Lockheed Martin, which then correct for any drift. The result is a very stable observing platform enabling long-duration science observations with very little blur.

UTC Aerospace Systems' design of specialized mount and installation systems allowed astronauts (wearing space suits also provided by UTC Aerospace Systems) to conduct the on-orbit repairs. HST's Servicing Missions involved 22 successful spacewalks using the UTC Aerospace Systems Shuttle spacesuits, which are still used on the International Space Station. The astronauts performed precise, on-orbit replacement of subsystems and science instruments which greatly extended HST's life.

"According to NASA, Hubble has made more than one million observations, and astronomers using Hubble data have published more than 12,700 scientific papers. We are extremely proud to have been involved in making one of the most productive scientific instruments ever built," said Nonnenmacher.

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