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“Creation of the Hubble Space Telescope” C. R. O’Dell Observatoire de Paris 3 October 2008. A highly personal version of the history of the program up through launch. 1923. Hermann Oberth publishes “Die Rakete zu den Planetenraumen”

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“Creation of the Hubble Space Telescope” C. R. O’Dell Observatoire de Paris 3 October 2008


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    1. “Creation of the Hubble Space Telescope”C. R. O’DellObservatoire de Paris3 October 2008 A highly personal version of the history of the program up through launch.

    2. 1923 • Hermann Oberth publishes “Die Rakete zu den Planetenraumen” • In this small book he elucidates most of the modern reasons for putting telescopes in space. • The ability to exploit space for astronomy was and continues to be closely dependent upon transportation.

    3. The Berlin SpaceshipTravel Society

    4. The V2

    5. 1945“Army Surplus” V-2 Rockets come to the US.

    6. 1946 • The first “Think-Tank”, the RAND corporation commissions a study of potential uses of rockets. • Lyman Spitzer, then a 32 year old professor at Yale performs this study. • In this study he proposes building space observatories, leading up to something very similar to today’s HST.

    7. Space Astronomy,The Earliest Years-I • 1957 Soviets launch Sputnik. • 1958 NASA created as the civilian space agency to counter the Soviets. • 1962 The NAS’s SSB identifies as a goal for NASA the creation of a large space observatory.

    8. Space Astronomy,The Earliest Years-II • 1960-1970 Numerous Rockets and Balloons. • 1966 Gemini 11 Objective Prism spectroscopy. • 1968 OAO-A2 launched (Wisconsin & Smithsonian). • 1972 OAO-C (Copernicus) launched (Princeton). • 1973 Skylab Objective Prism Spectroscopy. • 1972 TD-1A (ESA) launched. • 1974 Astronomical Netherlands Satellite launched. • 1978 International Ultraviolet Explorer launched.

    9. 1971-72 NASA begins to consider the HST. • One of the first things NASA did was to establish if the project was feasible (a Phase-A Study). • In parallel with studies by multiple contractors a group of scientists was convened at NASA HQ by Nancy G. Roman to provide feedback.

    10. 1972-3mCrossSection

    11. 1972-3mConfiguration

    12. 1971-72 NASA begins to consider the HST. • One of the first things NASA did was to establish if the project was feasible (a Phase-A Study). • In parallel with studies by multiple contractors a group of scientists was convened at NASA HQ by Nancy G. Roman to provide feedback. • At the end of this study I was nominated by Lyman Spitzer to become the Project Scientist (September 1972).

    13. Lyman Spitzer

    14. Resolutionversus Time

    15. 1973-A broad Scientific Base is established. • In December,1972 NASA issued an AO for creation of Instrument Definition Teams, the leaders plus a few generalists would form a Science Working Group during Phase-B, the preliminary design phase. • This is when the HST began to involve scientists throughout the USA and Europe. • ESA (ESRO) had been after a LAS, which evolved into IUE.

    16. We had $$ problems from the beginning. • The original $300M price-tag was a dictated price. • Different configurations were considered. • Different sizes (1.8-m, 2.4-m, 3.0-m) were considered. • The 2.4-m configuration was chosen in June, 1975. • ESA became a 15% partner in late 1976.

    17. HST CutawayCropped

    18. NBSAxial SI Replacement

    19. SM1Axial SI Replacement

    20. FY1978 HST is given its New Start (Phase C/D) funding. • This was anticipated by the selection of the contractors to build the optical system (Perkin-Elmer) and the overall observatory (Lockheed-Martin). • To the scientists, the greater impact was the selection of science-teams (with associated contractors) to provide the SI’s (scientific instruments).

    21. HST SWGPhase C/D

    22. How was the Science to be Managed? • American Astronomers were used to the national facilities being run by consortia of universities. • KPNO+CTIO-AURA, NRAO-AUI. • The idea of the STScI was first advocated by an ad hoc Ramsey Committee in 1965, before HST was started. • Within the HST project, an STScI was first advocated by the Project Scientist in 1972, eventually this idea was embraced by the Phase B SWG. • A National Academy of Science study in July, 1976 endorsed the concept and NASA reluctantly accepted it. • ESA’s ST-ECF in Garching started in 1984.

    23. Name Changes • 1971 Large Space Telescope • 1975 Space Telescope • 1983 Hubble Space Telescope

    24. WF/PC Prelaunch

    25. OTA Development Problems • The manufacture of a light-weight, highly precise mirror was considered to be an established technology by the project managers. • As the primary mirror was being tested and finished, the FGS was shown to be inadequate. • This all occurred as a new Project Manager came on-board, whose mandate was to control the escalating costs.

    26. Primary MirrorAfter Aluminizing

    27. HST-LMSCHorizontal Move

    28. Schedule History

    29. Launch

    30. HST in Orbit

    31. JAW Cartoon

    32. Spherical Aberration • This was discovered as the first images were made. • The cause was a misaligned optical device used to measure the shape of the primary mirror. • This device made the mirror appear to be flat when it was of the right shape.

    33. The Reflective Null Corrector

    34. The Direct Mistake

    35. Contributing Factors • The primary mirror was not considered the most demanding part of the HST. • The method of testing had become routine. • Management was concentrating on a redesign of the FGS, which WAS new. • The resident MSFC QA person had not been changed. • The report on the anomaly with the alignment was not forwarded to MSFC.

    36. Contributing Factors • The primary mirror was not considered the most demanding part of the HST. • The method of testing had become routine. • Management was concentrating on a redesign of the FGS, which WAS new. • The resident MSFC QA person had not been changed. • The report on the anomaly with the alignment was not forwarded to MSFC.

    37. Servicing Missions • SM1-12/93 COSTAR, WFPC2,Solar Arrays • SM2-02/97 STIS,NICMOS,FGS • SM3A-12/99 FGS,Gyros,Computer • SM3B-03/02 ACS,Solar Arrays,CryoCooler • SM4-10/10 WFC3,COS,(STIS+ACS Repairs),Batteries,Gyros

    38. Scientific Productivity

    39. ShuttleSchedule

    40. Reading Material • “The Space Telescope” by Robert W. Smith. Cambridge University Press, 1989(pre-launch) & 1993(post-launch). • “The Orion Nebula” by C. Robert O’Dell, Harvard University Press, 2003 (Chapter 10). • “The Universe in Mirror: The Saga of the HST and the Visionaries Who Built It.” by Robert Zimmerman, Princeton University Press, 2008.

    41. Don’t you just love a story with a happy ending?

    42. So what has been your involvement since stepping out as PS? • In 1982 launch was expected in 1985 and the PS didn’t have to be at MSFC. • I took a professorship at Rice University in September, 1982. • In 1983 the schedule slipped and MSFC wanted a resident PS. I was unwilling to relocate and stepped out, becoming the Observatory Scientist Team Leader. • After launch, I served on GSFC’s Telescope Time Steering Group, deciding on non-science uses of the telescope in shaking down the problems. • I’ve served on four Science Proposal review panels and currently serve on the STUC. • I retired from Rice in 2000 and relocated to Vanderbilt.

    43. Science Activity • As a Civil Servant who helped select the GTO’s I couldn’t be an early user. • However, in 1984 the Phase C/D science teams all chipped-in a portion of their time and I was made a GTO.This enabled me to have 3 GTO programs. I shared equally my GTO time with Lyman Spitzer. • Since launch, I’ve been PI or co-I on 22 GO programs.

    44. HST in Orbit

    45. O’Dell&Stuhlinger2005

    46. Alice Book Jacket.

    47. Alice and theCheshire Cat

    48. Alice’s Prediction

    49. Proplyds in Orion

    50. 1972-MSFC becomes the Lead Center • The Associate Administrator for Science was convinced that MSFC would do a better job on a task of this magnitude, although GSFC would retain responsibility for the SI’s and operations. • The problem was that MSFC had no optical astronomers. • Stuhlinger approached Spitzer about becoming Project Scientist, which would have involved spending lots of time in Huntsville.