Johns Hopkins Gazette: February 13, 1995

Launch Party Slated for Second HUT/Durrance Shuttle Mission

By Emil Venere and Ken Keatley

     Low on Letterman? Feel Leno is lacking? 
     Try a late night TV show with a definite Hopkins twist--but
for just one night only.
     "Let's Do Launch: Hopkins in Space," a send-off party and
live television viewing of the launch of the space shuttle
Endeavour, will be held Wednesday, March 1, beginning at 11 p.m.,
in Schafler Auditorium, Bloomberg Center of Physics and
Astronomy, on the Homewood campus.
     The event is free and open to students, faculty/staff and
the general public. Refreshments will be available.
     The centerpiece of the 16-day Endeavour space mission will
be the Astro-2 Observatory and its Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope
(HUT), which Hopkins research scientist Sam Durrance will operate
from space as an Endeavour payload specialist.
     Nolan R. Walborn, astronomer with the Space Telescope
Science Institute, will serve as commentator for "Let's Do
Launch." Dr. Walborn is a guest investigator on the HUT project.
     Just prior to the launch, scheduled for Thursday, March 2,
at 1:36 a.m., a videotape highlighting the accomplishments of Dr.
Durrance and the HUT team during the 1990 Astro-1 mission will be
shown. Guided tours of the Bloomberg observatory will also be
offered (weather permitting).
     HUT is one of three ultraviolet telescopes included in
Astro-2. The observatory will be housed inside the shuttle's
payload bay, with scientists in space and on the ground operating
the telescopes. 
     Endeavour will orbit Earth for up to 16 days, nearly twice
as long as the nine-day Astro-1 mission. HUT has been improved
significantly for Astro-2, and it should be about three times
more sensitive than the Astro-1 version. Those improvements,
combined with refinements to other equipment and the mission's
increased duration, may enable HUT scientists to gather up to 10
times more data than they did on the first Astro mission.
     HUT detects a portion of the ultraviolet spectrum that
cannot be seen by other space instruments. Scientists will use
HUT to pursue a wide range of objectives, from fundamental
questions of cosmology to detailed studies of our own galactic
neighborhood. The telescope's highest calling will be its search
for the primordial intergalactic medium that theories predict was
formed after the Big Bang of cosmic creation.
     More than two dozen faculty, staff and students are involved
in the HUT project, which is headed by astrophysicist Arthur F.
Davidsen, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
During the mission, the science team will work from the NASA
Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
     NASA is planning a series of mission media briefings on
Thursday, Feb. 16, beginning at 9 a.m. The briefings will be
aired on NASA Select Television, carried by some cable providers.
Students and the public may view the briefings on a television
provided by the Maryland Space Grant Consortium in its library,
201 Bloomberg.
     During the mission, information updates will be available on
the HUTline, 516-6899. The university will update the recording
as often as possible.   
     Detailed information about HUT and Astro-2 is available on
the Internet, through the HUT World Wide Web page. To access this
page through Mosaic, use the URL. The address is:
     The page provides information about the HUT instrument, the
science team, science results from Astro-1 and plans for Astro-2.
Many of the entries are available on both a popular and a
technical level. Also, links through the HUT home page can be
used to provide access to the NASA pages, and in particular to
the NASA/MSFC "Mission Operations Laboratory" page, which will be
providing real-time updates and information during the mission.

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