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Handprints on Hubble: An Astronaut's Story of Invention (Lemelson Center Studies in Invention and Innovation series) Kindle Edition
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Perhaps the most important spacecraft ever launched in a single mission is the Hubble Space Telescope. HST has provided to humanity more knowledge of our universe than any instrument since Galileo first peered through ground glass. Astronaut Kathy Sullivan was there at the beginning of Hubble's design. As much as anyone, her handprints are on this magnificent space observatory. Now, in this fast-paced memoir, she tells us of the frustrations and triumphs of her storied career as the first American woman to walk in space and how she came to deploy the Hubble in orbit. A page-turner, Sullivan's memoir is for more than space buffs. It's for anyone who loves a good read about an adventurous life written by the person who lived it.―Homer Hickam, author of Rocket Boys/October Sky --This text refers to the hardcover edition.
"A wonderful tale of the most remarkable scientific instrument of our time, and the people who made it possible. This fascinating story of the Hubble Space Telescope’s visioning, development, and miraculous recovery, written by my longtime friend and two-time shuttle crewmate Dr. Kathy Sullivan, pays tribute to the unsung heroes of Hubble’s initial deployment and subsequent servicing." – Charlie Bolden, NASA Astronaut Pilot STS-31; 12th NASA Administrator
"So that’s how it all works! Kathy Sullivan’s insider knowledge and spacewalking savvy turn the nuts-and-bolts narrative of a giant piece of hardware into a daring space odyssey. From roaring rockets to tiny wrenches — as human ingenuity shaped NASA technology — it’s an intimate portrait of our magnificent Hubble eye-in-the-sky. I was, yes, riveted." – Lynn Sherr, longtime space correspondent for ABC News; author, Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space
"Perhaps the most important spacecraft ever launched in a single mission is the Hubble Space Telescope. HST has provided to humanity more knowledge of our universe than any instrument since Galileo first peered through ground glass. Astronaut Kathy Sullivan was there at the beginning of Hubble's design. As much as anyone, her handprints are on this magnificent space observatory. Now, in this fast-paced memoir, she tells us of the frustrations and triumphs of her storied career as the first American woman to walk in space and how she came to deploy the Hubble in orbit. A page-turner, Sullivan's memoir is for more than space buffs. It's for anyone who loves a good read about an adventurous life written by the person who lived it." – Homer Hickam, author of Rocket Boys/October Sky --This text refers to the paperback edition.
- Publication Date : November 5, 2019
- File Size : 10218 KB
- Publisher : The MIT Press (November 5, 2019)
- ASIN : B08KZH3M3J
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Language: : English
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Print Length : 304 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #494,831 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Because of all the engineering components and challenges, this was certainly the most technical astronaut memoir I’ve read. There’s a lot of detail about tool design and development and testing the functionality of these in the neutral buoyancy SIM tank. There’s also a lot of bureaucracy to keep up with: “The people side of the equation was just as complex as the technical side: shuttle flight controllers at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Hubble flight controllers at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, and engineers from both Lockheed and the Marshall Space Flight Center all had to learn to understand each other and develop the skills needed to work together at 17,500 miles per hour.”
A bonus is that the book includes plenty of illustrations on the glossy pages throughout. There were a few editorial missteps, but otherwise it was a fascinating look at one of mankind’s greatest achievements from the perspective of an individual who was directly involved.
On these pages she comes across as driven, efficient and thorough. No stone left to rest. Checking four times is a good preface for checking again. With relentless tenacity, she contributes to the design of tools and a platform that make space maintenance possible. Her writing is in the same vein, suggesting that what you’re reading is the shaved and crafted remains of information that would have been otherwise unintelligible to most laymen.
It is worth surmising that putting “Hubble” in the title was a choice made to win the interest of readers like me. Hubble is unquestionably the Kong presence in what is nevertheless primarily the autobiography of Dr. Sullivan. Still, she makes the Hubble shine, explaining the epoch difference the space telescope has made by quoting the instrument’s program manager. “Trying to do stellar observation from Earth,” he said, “is like trying to do birdwatching from the bottom of a lake.”
One thing more. In a book filled with demanding and exacting NASA protocols designed to prevent errors, there are no fewer than three editing mis-steps. Each involves the transposition of words so the respective sentences read like they were written by someone whose native language is not English. A small fault. But small faults have done harm before and, here, cost this striving-for-perfection space story a star.
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Not long after she returned home from her historic spacewalk in 1984, Sullivan was named to the crew that would deploy HST into space for a mission that NASA hoped would last at least 15 years. To last that long, Hubble would require periodic servicing calls from shuttle astronauts.
While Sullivan and fellow astronaut Bruce McCandless trained for an emergency spacewalk to make sure that Hubble would be deployed properly, they found that HST was not well prepared to be serviced in space. Moreover the tools and other equipment that astronauts would need to repair and service Hubble were far from ready.
The launch of HST was delayed until 1990, in part because of the loss of the shuttle Challenger, and so McCandless, Sullivan and a group of experts inside NASA had more time to prepare Hubble and the shuttles for Hubble servicing missions. Ironically, when they and HST were finally launched, the two astronauts were suited up when a solar panel refused to unfurl, but they never made the spacewalk they they had trained for because controllers managed to get the panel to open up.
Once Sullivan and her crewmates returned home, scientists discovered to their dismay that the mirror at the heart of the space telescope had been ground to the wrong shape. The work that McCandless and Sullivan paid off in a big way when another crew repaired HST in 1993 using tools and repair methods developed by the author and her friends. Thanks to that mission and four more servicing missions, Hubble is still sending back dazzling images and groundbreaking data after nearly 30 years in orbit.
While Sullivan does talk about her early life and all three of her space flights, Handprints on Hubble focuses on the hard work astronauts do on the ground to make their work in space look easy. It is a valuable and unique addition to the literature of space travel.