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Mission insignia
STS-109 patch.svg
Mission statistics
Mission name STS-109
Space shuttle Columbia
Crew size 7
Launch pad 39-A
Launch date March 1, 2002 11:22:02 UTC
Landing March 12, 2002 9:33:10 UTC KSC Runway 33
Mission duration 10d 22h 11m 09s
Number of orbits 165
Orbital altitude 308 nautical miles (570 km)
Orbital inclination 28.5 degrees
Distance traveled 3.9 million miles (6.3 million km)
Crew photo
STS-109 crew.jpg
(L-R): Michael J. Massimino, Richard M. Linnehan, Duane G. Carey, Scott D. Altman, Nancy J. Currie, John M. Grunsfeld and James H. Newman.
Related missions
Previous mission Next mission
STS-108 STS-108 STS-110 STS-110

STS-109 (SM3B) was a Space Shuttle mission that launched from the Kennedy Space Center on March 1, 2002. It was the 108th mission of the Space Shuttle program,[1] the 27th flight of the orbiter Columbia[1] and the fourth servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope.[2] It was also the last successful mission of the orbiter Columbia before the ill-fated STS-107 mission, which culminated in the Columbia Disaster.

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was placed in orbit during mission STS-31 on April 25, 1990.[3] Initially designed to operate for 15 years, plans for periodic service and refurbishment were incorporated into its mission from the start.[4] After the successful completion of the second planned service mission (SM2) by the crew of STS-82 in February of 1997, three of HST's six gyroscopes failed. NASA decided to split the third planned service mission into two parts, SM3A and SM3B.[5] A fifth and final servicing mission, STS-125 (SM4) launched May 11, 2009[6] The work performed during SM4 is expected to keep HST in operation through 2014.[7] Further plans for servicing after SM4 are ambiguous as NASA is planning to launch HST's successor, the James Webb Space Telescope in 2013.



Position Astronaut
Commander Scott D. Altman
Third spaceflight
Pilot Duane G. Carey
First spaceflight
Mission Specialist 1 John M. Grunsfeld
Fourth spaceflight
Payload Commander
Mission Specialist 2 Nancy J. Currie
Fourth spaceflight
Mission Specialist 3 Richard M. Linnehan
Third spaceflight
Mission Specialist 4 James H. Newman
Fourth spaceflight
Mission Specialist 5 Michael J. Massimino
First spaceflight

Mission parameters

  • Mass:
    • Orbiter liftoff: 116,989 kg (257,920 lb)
    • Orbiter landing: 100,564 kg (221,710 lb)
  • Perigee: 486 km (302 mi)
  • Apogee: 578 km (359 mi)
  • Inclination: 28.5°
  • Period: 95.3 min


EVA Team Start - UTC End - UTC Duration
1 Grunsfeld
March 4, 2002, 06:37 March 4, 2002, 13:38 7:01
2 Newman
March 5, 2002, 06:40 March 5, 2002, 13:56 7:16
3 Grunsfeld
March 6, 2002, 08:28 March 6, 2002, 15:16 6:48
4 Newman
March 7, 2002, 09:00 March 7, 2002, 16:18[8][9] 7:18
5 Grunsfeld
March 8, 2002, 08:46 March 8, 2002, 16:18[10][11] 7:32

Mission highlights

Hubble Space Telescope after servicing by the crew of STS-109

The purpose of STS-109 was to service the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). It was Columbia's first flight following an extensive two and a half year modification period (its most recent mission being STS-93). During the mission they installed a new science instrument, the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), new rigid Solar Arrays (SA3), new Power Control Unit (PCU) and a new Cryocooler for the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS). STS-109 also reboosted HST to a higher orbit.

Astronauts remove the FOC to make room for the ACS

The STS-109 astronauts performed a total of five spacewalks in five consecutive days to service and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope. The spacewalkers received assistance from their crewmates inside Columbia. Currie operated the Shuttle's robot arm while Altman was her backup. Carey and Altman documented the EVA activities with video and still images.

Accomplishments of the spacewalks included the installation of new solar arrays, a new camera, a new Power Control Unit, a Reaction Wheel Assembly and an experimental cooling system for the NICMOS unit. STS-109 accumulated a total of 35 hours, 55 minutes of EVA time. Following STS-109, a total of 18 spacewalks had been conducted during four Space Shuttle missions to service Hubble (the others being STS-61, STS-82, STS-103 and STS-125) for a total of 129 hours, 10 minutes by 14 different astronauts.

Hubble on the payload bay just prior to being released by the STS-109 crew.

It was also the last successful flight of the Columbia orbiter, as on its next mission, STS-107, it disintegrated on re-entry, killing all on board.

STS-109 is considered a night launch, as sunrise was at 6:47 AM, and Columbia launched at 6:22 AM EST, 25 minutes before sunrise.

Attempt Planned Result Turnaround Reason Decision point Weather go % Notes
1 21 Feb 2002, 10:22:00 am scrubbed --- [12]
2 28 Feb 2002, 6:48:00 am scrubbed 6 days, 20 hours, 26 minutes technical 21 Feb 2002, 10:00 am 60% wrong bearings installed on shuttles main landing gear[13]
3 1 Mar 2002, 6:22:02 am success 0 days, 23 hours, 34 minutes [14]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Mission STS-109". NASA. Retrieved March 1, 2009.  
  2. ^ "The Hubble Space Telescope: SM3B". NASA. Retrieved March 1, 2009.  
  3. ^ "The Hubble Space Telescope: Deployment". NASA. Retrieved March 1, 2009.  
  4. ^ "Servicing History and Long-Term Plans". NASA. Retrieved March 1, 2009.  
  5. ^ "The Hubble Space Telescope: SM3A". NASA. Retrieved March 1, 2009.  
  6. ^ "STS-125: Final Shuttle Mission to Hubble Space Telescope". NASA. Retrieved March 1, 2009.  
  7. ^ "The Hubble Space Telescope: SM4". NASA. Retrieved March 1, 2009.  
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Launch officially slips to Feb. 28". CBS News. Retrieved 2009-08-30.  
  13. ^ "Cold front threatens shuttle launch". CBS News. Retrieved 2009-08-30.  
  14. ^ "Columbia rockets into space". CBS News. Retrieved 2009-08-30.  

External links



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