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Spacewalking astronauts begin the overhaul of Hubble

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Photo: NASA TV

Two astronauts swap-out a camera on the Hubble Space Telescope during a spacewalk today. It was a precarious operation. Yesterday, the space shuttle Atlantis latched onto Hubble and both are now floating in orbit, about 350 miles above Earth. The big concern for NASA officials is the tons of debris from discarded satellites. On Wednesday, a piece of space junk came within a few miles of Atlantis.  

Spacewalkers John Grunsfeld and Andrew Feustel removed Hubble’s 15-year-old camera, which has snapped more than 135-thousand images. The old workhorse will be brought back to Earth and eventually go on display at the Smithsonian Institution. The high-tech replacement camera cost $132 million. The new camera reportedly will be able to peer deeper into the universe than its predecessor and take large, clear, detailed color photos.

During the nearly seven and half hour session, the mission specialists installed a new computer unit as well. This is the first of five spacewalks scheduled over the next few days to rehab Hubble.

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