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The Hubble Story Video

Solar Arrays The Vault

Power for Hubble omes from the electrical power system. The major components are two solar array wings, six nickel-hydrogen batteries, six charge-current controllers, one power control unit, and four power distribution units. The solar arrays are the primary source of electrical power. The arrays are nearly eight feet by forty feet. Each array has a solar cell blanket that converts sunlight into electrical energy. Electricity produced by the solar arrays charges Hubbles' batteries. The solar arrays supply power to the spacecraft and charge the batteries while in the sunlit part of the orbit. The batteries take over supplying power during the night portion of the orbit (when Hubble is in the Earth's shadow).

This photo shows astronaut Kathy Thornton jettisoning the damaged solar panel into space. During the First Servicing Mission, when the solar panels were changed out, astronauts detected a bend in the panel casing. The panel couldn't safely be returned to Earth and was jettisoned into space. According to NORAD, the Hubble solar array reentered Earth's atmosphere on October 28, 1998 at 12:08 a.m. EST.



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