Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) joined Griffith Observatory April 24-26 with daily events to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope. Griffith Observatory, in Los Angeles, hosted speaking programs, a star party and special guest appearances by NASA astronauts Col. Mark Vande Hei and Story Musgrave, who met the public and signed autographs.
Kicking off the weekend Friday, April 24, Griffith Observatory hosted a day of discovery, examining the origin, history, science and cultural impacts of Hubble. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Ken Carpenter, Space Telescope Science Institute's Rosa Diaz and Griffith Observatory's David Reitzel and Laura Danly hosted the in-depth discussion.
On Saturday, April 25, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei visited Griffith Observatory, sharing his experiences and meeting attendees. Before and after Col. Vande Hei's appearance, Carpenter was joined by retired Lt. Col. Russ Matijevich (USAF), director of business and product development for AOA Xinetics, a Northrop Grumman company. Carpenter and Lt. Col. Matijevich hosted a discussion of Hubble through the years, including the many servicing missions that allowed Hubble scientists to make so many critical discoveries. "AOA Xinetics is proud of our heritage supporting the first servicing mission, which enabled Hubble to produce incredible imagery of our universe," said Lt. Col. Matijevich.
In support of the first servicing mission, the AOA Xinetics team developed a new system to accurately measure and test Hubble's corrective optics to verify they provided the necessary fix so Hubble could return to work on orbit. In partnership with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Xinetics founder Mark Ealey also built the articulating fold mirror within the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2), a mission-critical component for Hubble's primary mirror correction within the camera. WFPC2 operated on-board Hubble for over 15 years and was responsible for many significant scientific discoveries, including the Hubble Deep Field image.
The program Saturday concluded with a star party on the lawn of Griffith Observatory with telescopes from Griffith Observatory, the Los Angeles Astronomical Society, Sidewalk Astronomers and the Planetary Society.
Sunday, April 26, Carpenter hosted two discussions on the future of space telescopes, including NASA's James Webb Space Telescope and the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST). Musgrave shared his experiences as Payload Commander for the first Hubble servicing mission and was available for autographs.
The free weekend celebrations wrapped up with an in-depth discussion of the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA's next observatory that is expected to unleash a new dawn of discovery. Northrop Grumman's Amy Lo, astrophysicist and observatory alignment thread lead for Webb, reviewed the history of ground- and space-based telescopes, culminating with Webb's science mission. Scott Willoughby, vice president and Webb program manager, Northrop Grumman, shared some of the engineering challenges behind building the most advanced space telescope ever constructed and discussed the program's current progress.
Source: Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC)
Date: Apr 27, 2015