In early October 2001, the HST engineers realized that there could be a problem with the system. A certain failure in the NCS system could drain all six batteries, and there would be no way to disconnect from the spacecraft. The HST Project decided that a solution was needed to interrupt the power so that the on-board computers could shut down the system in time. A small team was quickly assembled (that I would head up) to fix this problem by building a small relay box which would be installed on the external radiator.
I chose the acronym ARUBA in order to stimulate excitement and
among the people (and especially the school-aged kids) of Aruba for
upcoming mission. It represents a first for our history (in
to have the island's name go into space with such an important
My objective is to create interest for education in the sciences and
among the students.
Three dimensional drawing of a preliminary version of the ARUBA mounted on radiator.
It is the item in the corner of the grid of holes on the radiator, and will house three relays.
Later, we added a third connector to the top of the box.
Within a few days of the concept being generated, we were already training the astronauts to use the ARUBA
in the NBL tank. This is where astronauts train underwater to simulate the zero G of space.
Since the astronauts need to interact with it, this nonfunctional mockup is to evaluate proper reach and
access. It is marked with the blurry red 'X'. Here, the astronaut has just plugged the cable
coming from HST that provides power into the ARUBA. The code in the top right
means Day-of-Year 283 (Oct 10), at 15:22 or 2:22pm. The bottom numbers identify the camera.
Since the vibration table moves in one direction only (like a speaker cone) -- in the vertical direction in this case,
the flight hardware (ARUBA and its two controller boxes) are mounted on a plate that can be
put in different positions. In these pictures we see the test in the X direction, and then the Y.
Lastly, we test in the Z direction (not shown).
Before the test, we place sensors on the flight unit to measure how much it shakes during the test.
The picture here shows Vick mounting these 'accellerometers'. Note one is visible on the top
between the three connectors with the thin black cable. These sensors allow the engineers to
monitor to make sure that nothing shakes out of control.
Here is the ARUBA in the blanket shop with its template on. Since the box will sit outside of HST, it will need to
be protected from the environment of space. This will occur with a Multi Layer Insulation (MLI) blanket.
The template, made of clear plastic, is a tool that is used to make sure the blanket is of the correct shape.
The connector that will be mated by the astronauts is the left most one on the top of the box.