Spaceflight Now: STS-103 Mission Report
Photo Gallery:
Discovery captures Hubble

Posted: December 22, 1999

Space shuttle Discovery retrieved the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope on the night of December 22. The observatory was brought aboard the shuttle so spacewalking astronauts can replace broken and aging electronics on the 9 1/2-year old telescope. NASA images.

Moon rising
As space shuttle Discovery closed in on Hubble, the astronauts took this dramatic image of the full moon rising aboard the Earth's atmosphere.
Moon rise
Hubble and the moon
The Hubble Space Telescope appears as a small dot with the backdrop of a full moon about three hours prior to retrieval by Discovery.
HST near moon
Hello, Hubble
For the first time in nearly three years, the world gets the first close up view of Hubble in space.
Inching closer
The 120-ton shuttle Discovery moves ever so slowly toward the 12 1/2-ton Hubble.
Moving in for capture
Commander Curt Brown takes control of Discovery for the final approach to Hubble, moving the shuttle within 35 feet of the telescope.
Up close
Up close and personal
The astronauts examine one of Hubble's two the high gain antennas stowed against the telescope's body. Also note the old NASA worm logo on Hubble.
Mission specialist Jean-Francois Clervoy grabs the Hubble Space Telescope using Discovery's 50-foot robotic arm.
Welcome aboard
Hubble is brought aboad Discovery and mounted atop a special table platform.
Let the servicing begin
Hubble is locked down in the payload bay, ready for three consecutive days of spacewalks. Two pairs of astronauts will replace failed parts of the telescope's pointing system and install other new electronics.
Go servicing
Flight data file
Vehicle: Discovery (OV-103)
Payload: HST Servicing Mission-3A
Launch date: Dec. 20, 1999
Launch window: 0050-0132 GMT (1950-2032 EST Dec. 19)
Launch site: LC-39B, Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Landing date: Dec. 27, 1999
Landing time: 2224 GMT (1724 EST)
Landing site: SLF, Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Photo gallery
Launch - Images from Sunday's countdown and launch.

Video vault
Space shuttle Discovery launches on STS-103 for the third mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope.
  PLAY (596k QuickTime file)

Discovery's solid rocket boosters peel away from the shuttle's external fuel tank just over two minutes into flight.
  PLAY (218k QuickTime file)

The STS-103 crew depart their crew quarters on Sunday afternoon headed for launch pad 39B.
  PLAY (341k QuickTime file)

NASA Launch Director Dave King announces that the first launch attempt on Friday was scrubbed because of bad weather.
  PLAY (253k QuickTime file)

Download QuickTime 4 software to view this file.

Explore the Net
NASA Human Spaceflight - Space agency Web site dedicated to International Space Station and space shuttle programs.

Press kit - Official STS-103 mission press kit.

Shuttle Media Reference Guide - Complete in-depth look at space shuttle systems and facilities.

Shuttle Countdown Online - NASA Kennedy Space Center site with pre-launch information.

Hubble Space Telescope - Home page of NASA's first Great Observatory.

HST Servicing Mission 3A - NASA site focused on this servicing mission of Hubble.

European Space Agency - partner in HST program and has two astronauts flying on STS-103.

United Space Alliance - prime contractor responsible for daily shuttle processing work.

Thiokol - Manufactures the shuttle's solid rocket boosters.

Rocketdyne - Division of Boeing that builds shuttle main engines.

Lockheed Martin - Corporation that builds the external fuel tank.