If you are anything like me, you were on the edge of your chair last summer, watching the crew of the shuttle Atlantis grind out five marathon spacewalks for a final servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.
The Atlantis crew really hit it out of the park, installing some new instruments, and resurrecting some old ones that had seemed broken beyond repair.
The lead spacewalker was John Grunsfeld, on his third Hubble Servicing Mission. I had the good fortune to do an unique underwater interview with him in the run-up to STS-125, as he practiced some of his tasks in the pool at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. I even tried my hand with the pistol grip tool…that’s NASA-speak for an electric screwdriver…and believe me they just make it look easy.
So now Hubble is churning out great images like this – and should be for another decade…
But what now Columbus? What does a Hubble Hugger do for a next act?
The obvious choice: join the team at Hubble Headquarters. That’s the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. Grunsfeld – who has a PhD in physics – is the new deputy director. I Skyped him the other day to hear more about that final repair mission, and where he and where Hubble go from here. Read the transcript, or watch below: