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The Hubble Space Telescope in Columbia's payload bay towards the end of the mission
NamesSpace Transportation System-109
Mission typeHubble servicing
COSPAR ID2002-010A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.27388
Mission duration10 days, 22 hours, 11 minutes, 09 seconds
Distance travelled6,300,000 kilometres (3,900,000 mi)
Orbits completed165
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftSpace Shuttle Columbia
Launch mass116,989 kg (257,917 lb)
Landing mass100,564 kg (221,706 lb)
Crew size7
Start of mission
Launch date1 March 2002 11:22:02 (2002-03-01UTC11:22:02Z) UTC
Launch siteKennedy LC-39A
End of mission
Landing date12 March 2002 09:33:10 (2002-03-12UTC09:33:11Z) UTC
Landing siteKennedy SLF Runway 33
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Perigee altitude486 km (302 mi)
Apogee altitude578 km (359 mi)
Inclination28.5 degrees
Period95.3 minutes

(L-R): Michael J. Massimino, Richard M. Linnehan, Duane G. Carey, Scott D. Altman, Nancy J. Currie, John M. Grunsfeld and James H. Newman.
← STS-108
STS-110 →

STS-109 (SM3B) was a Space Shuttle mission that launched from the Kennedy Space Center on 1 March 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 25 April 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 1997, three of the telescope'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 on 11 May 2009.[6] The work performed during SM4 kept HST in operation through 2021.[7]


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

Crew seating arrangements

Seat[8] Launch Landing

Seats 1–4 are on the Flight Deck. Seats 5–7 are on the Middeck.

S1 Altman Altman
S2 Carey Carey
S3 Grunsfeld Linnehan
S4 Currie Currie
S5 Linnehan Grunsfeld
S6 Newman Newman
S7 Massimino Massimino


Hubble Space Telescope sporting new solar arrays during SM3B.
EVA Team Start – UTC End – UTC Duration
1 Grunsfeld
4 March 2002, 06:37 4 March 2002, 13:38 7:01
2 Newman
5 March 2002, 06:40 5 March 2002, 13:56 7:16
3 Grunsfeld
6 March 2002, 08:28 6 March 2002, 15:16 6:48
4 Newman
7 March 2002, 09:00 7 March 2002, 16:18[9][10] 7:18
5 Grunsfeld
8 March 2002, 08:46 8 March 2002, 16:18[9][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 the crew installed a new science instrument, the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), new rigid solar arrays (SA3), a new Power Control Unit (PCU) and an experimental cryocooler for the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS). Columbia also reboosted HST to a higher orbit.

Space shuttle Columbia launches on mission STS-109.
STS-109 Launch (March 1, 2002)
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 EVAs 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.

Columbia made its twenty-seventh and last successful landing at Kennedy Space Center, as on its next mission, STS-107, it disintegrated on re-entry, killing all aboard.

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 Mission replanning[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 Columbia's main landing gear[13]
3 1 Mar 2002, 6:22:02 am Success 0 days, 23 hours, 34 minutes [14]

See also




Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  1. ^ a b "Mission STS-109". NASA. Archived from the original on 18 March 2017. Retrieved 1 March 2009.
  2. ^ "The Hubble Space Telescope: SM3B". NASA. Archived from the original on 22 January 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2009.
  3. ^ "The Hubble Space Telescope: Deployment". NASA. Archived from the original on 7 March 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2009.
  4. ^ "Servicing History and Long-Term Plans" (PDF). NASA. June 1993. Retrieved 1 March 2009.
  5. ^ "The Hubble Space Telescope: SM3A". NASA. Archived from the original on 20 March 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2009.
  6. ^ "STS-125: Final Shuttle Mission to Hubble Space Telescope". NASA. Retrieved 1 March 2009.
  7. ^ "The Hubble Space Telescope: SM4". NASA. Archived from the original on 22 January 2009. Retrieved 1 March 2009.
  8. ^ "Spaceflight mission report: STS-109". www.spacefacts.de. Retrieved 20 April 2024.
  9. ^ a b "STS-109 Mission Archives". NASA. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 30 July 2009.
  10. ^ "STS-109 Status Report #14". NASA. 7 March 2002. Archived from the original on 6 April 2002.
  11. ^ "STS-109 Status Report #16". NASA. 8 March 2002. Archived from the original on 6 June 2002.
  12. ^ "Launch officially slips to Feb. 28". CBS News. 14 January 2002. Retrieved 30 August 2009.
  13. ^ "Cold front threatens shuttle launch". CBS News. 26 February 2002. Retrieved 30 August 2009.
  14. ^ "Columbia rockets into space". CBS News. 1 March 2002. Retrieved 30 August 2009.