Crichton Conversation Summer 2016
What went wrong with the Hubble Space Telescope and how did we fix it?
The Crichton Foundation welcomed an audience of almost 150 guests to hear Dr Jeffrey Hoffman’s fascinating story about his work on the Hubble Space Telescope as well as his extensive experience of space flight.
In his talk Dr Hoffman described how, despite all the planning and testing that NASA carried out, the telescope was launched with a major optical defect. He then told us how the defect was identified, how the solution was developed, and finally how he and his crew mates carried out the rescue/repair mission. The talk was illustrated with slides and a video of his space flight.
Dr Hoffman has completed five space flights and has logged more than 1,211 hours and 21.5 million miles in space. He made his first space flight as a mission specialist in April 1985, on the Shuttle Discovery. His next space flight as a mission specialist was in December 1990, on the Shuttle Columbia. Dr. Hoffman made his third space flight as payload commander and mission specialist in July and August 1992, on the Shuttle Atlantis. In December 1993 his fourth flight as an EVA crew member, on the Shuttle Endeavour. During this flight, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was captured, serviced, and restored to full capacity through a record five space walks by four astronauts. He last flew on the Shuttle Columbia from 22nd February to 9th March 1996. During this mission, Dr. Hoffman became the first astronaut to log 1000 hours aboard the Space Shuttle.
The debate that followed Dr Hoffman’s talk gave guests the opportunity to ask their own questions about space including NASA missions, the Hubble, safety in such a hostile environment, health implications of space flight and the future for commercial space flight.
Foundation Convenor, Andrew Walls was delighted to see many new faces attending this event, including a high proportion of students. The Foundation hopes to welcome them back to more events in future.