As man inches closer to understanding the universe, there have been several tools crucial to his advancement. Among them is the world-renowned Hubble Space Telescope. Launched in 1990, the telescope became the world’s first space-based optical telescope.
The likes of Dr. Steven Hawley, now a successful engineering physics director were the astronauts responsible for its initiation and maintenance. He is currently also a professor at the University of Kansas teaching astronomy and physics.
Journey to Joining NASA’s mission crew
As a child, Dr. Hawley would follow the events of the American-based space program. At that time, he did not know that he would later be appointed to join many space missions including Hubble’s initiation and maintenance missions.
The space tours require high levels of physical and mental stability therefore astronauts are expected to undergo rigorous training. As such, people enrolling in the program are given the title astronaut candidate during their testing period. Together with others, Dr. Hawley was evaluated for around two years before being chosen.
The chosen would join the force and drop their candidate title. Although he met the required NASA training and evaluation standards, Dr. Steven Hawley did not carry out a mission until 1983. In total, NASA estimates that the former shuttle flight engineer spent roughly 770 hours and 27 minutes of his life in space. Converted, this means that he spent nearly 32 days working with various shuttle crews across his five known Space Shuttle missions.
In February of 1983, the professor finally joined his first mission crew, almost five years into working with NASA. It took him another seven to work on the now historic Hubble launch.
Space Mission Preparation
Before every space mission, there is meticulous planning and training that goes into ensuring every step is carefully undertaken. Dr. Hawley stated that their preparation for the Hubble telescope launch. They attended many classroom sessions together with their crewmates and trained in simulators. They also undertook a physical training course which ensured he learned how to fly. He began with jets because, at the time, he had never flown.
To practice, there was a shift from the classroom setting and to the cockpit. Dr. Hawley stated that it was an exciting experience. During the practical sessions, they learned how a cockpit works and what the teams should do in the event of launching and entry. As a team member, Dr. Hawley was always the flight engineer in his space missions.
He enjoyed the opportunity to coordinate with his crewmates, a standard three-person team comprised of a commander, pilot, and flight engineer. As the mission’s engineer, he would help his colleagues in the entry and ascent procedures, and he would also be relied on in case the team encountered a problem.
Apart from being the flight engineer on the two monumental Hubble missions, the professor was also the prime robot arm operator. He was tasked with lifting the telescope from the payload and releasing it into orbit.
The task might sound easy but the astronomy professor stated that the work was quite challenging. Without any collision avoidance measures like software, it was on his shoulders to ensure the telescope was safely released. In the shuttle, they have displays that relay information about the orientation and position but primarily, they observe the process from the window.
The Zero Gravity Experience
What many might wonder is what it is like experiencing zero-gravity while in space. Dr. Hawley shared his honest opinion during his missions. He stated that the experience is not quite as euphoric as many people imagine. On the top of reasons, he did not enjoy zero gravity was the effects it has on astronauts’ efficiency.
After launching, crews have many tasks to complete but with space’s zero gravity, they have to calculate work time while accounting for their weightlessness. The established professor, now a 69-year-old, told Betway Casino that when working, they had to always think about the placement of their feet. If not anchored, you could float away or worse, lose your pencil while working.
Dr. Steven added that weightless experience also causes physiological reactions like nausea in some people. He however explained that he was lucky to never have the symptom, but he did experience a headache and backache.
Space Missions Distractions
The director of engineering physics stated that while working, they also encountered other distractions. He specifically stated that he was often distracted by the earth’s landscape view from above.
Despite seeing new places and the fact of him being on a space mission, Dr. Hawley would not forget how impressed he was with NASA’s training. The realism of the simulator made it easier for him to appreciate its accuracy in depicting a real view of the earth.
In history, funded organizations have achieved much to the point of even rewriting history itself. NASA outdid any other organization in their 1990 Hubble Space Telescope launch, but they only succeeded because of having unmatched experts. The same principle applies in other fields including football. During the last transfer window of 2021, Barcelona, one of the world’s richest football clubs scored excellent players.
The transfer players including Emerson Royal who the club purchased from Real Betis for around € 7 million. Whether in astronomy or football, key players have worked to achieve the seemingly impossible.
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