Instruments for Hubble repair cleared by NASA No trace of dust found despite fears


An inspection of sophisticated instruments needed to repair the Hubble Space Telescope found no trace of contamination from a fine layer of dust that had seeped into a cargo room where the equipment was stored at the Kennedy Space Center, a spokeswoman said yesterday.

The instruments are being repackaged at Kennedy, where they will be loaded onto the Shuttle Endeavour for the planned Dec. * *TC mission to service and repair NASA's $1.5 billion space telescope, said Lisa Malone, a spokeswoman for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration at the Florida space center.

During the weekend of October 30, staff at the Kennedy Space Center found a fine layer of grit covering the outer plastic bag containing the instruments designed to correct Hubble's flawed vision. The grit -- apparently residue from sandblasting work that had been done earlier at the launch pad -- had seeped into the room following a high wind storm.

Concern about possible contamination led to the re-inspection of

the sensitive and costly instruments, including the $50 million Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement that was designed at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

"Nothing was amiss," Ms. Malone said of the inspection.

The 11-day mission, which includes an unprecedented number of space walks to repair the Hubble telescope, is scheduled to lift off from Kennedy next month.

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