I have been eagerly following the amazing work that our astronauts are doing on the final Hubble repair mission. Today, astronauts removed the COSTAR apparatus which was installed in 1993 to fix the famous mirror problem that Hubble faced. One of my astronomy professors at UNLV helped design COSTAR and I’m sure she’s very proud it served so well in space for 16 years. It’s great that the most difficult day of the mission went by without serious glitches.

Oh, and astronaut John Grunsfeld made a cool Simpsons reference today:

The ACS repair work began a few minutes past 1 p.m. Working inside the cramped confines of a Hubble instrument bay, Grunsfeld used a custom grid cutter tool to remove electromagnetic shielding from the phone booth-size camera and then removed six of the Torx fasteners securing a cover plate.

“Number one is out, Bueno,” Grunsfeld radioed crewmate Michael “Bueno” Good. “Yay!” A moment later, he added: “I don’t think brain surgeons go ‘yoo hoo’ when they pull something out.”

After screwing in mounting posts, he attached a clear plastic “fastener-capture plate” designed to trap the small, non-captive screws holding the cover plate in position.

This activity is dedicated to studying the behavior of tiny screws in space,” Grunsfeld joked. “All the screws are out, Bueno.”