The riskiest manned space mission for years is to be filmed next week for a big-screen Warner Bros movie. NASA are sending a space shuttle to carry out final repairs to the Hubble space telescope, the giant eye on the sky that has taken fantastic photos of the cosmos.
Shuttle Atlantis is due to launch on Monday, 11 May, from Florida. It is a daring mission because Hubble orbits nearly 350 miles above the Earth, far from the safety of the International Space Station.
Five spacewalks are planned to cary out repairs, maintenance and upgrades to the telescope. These will be filmed in 3D using an IMAX camera, which produces the most detailed movies for special cinemas with vast screens.
The IMAX footage will be mixed with many of the fantastic images taken by Hubble over the years for a movie called Hubble 3D which Warner Bros plan to release in the early months of next year.
The IMAX team has trained Atlantis’ crew in Houston to operate the cameras on the 11-day mission. Commander Scott Altman and pilot Greg Johnson will double as filmmakers as two teams of spacewalking astronauts – working together with the shuttle’s robotic arm – perform some of the most challenging work ever undertaken in space.
Producer and director Toni Myers said: “The IMAX experience is the next best thing to being in space, and with IMAX 3-D, the audience really is there. With IMAX 3D, we can transport people to galaxies that are 13 billion light years away – back to the edge of time.”
NASA’s Bob Jacobs said: “Hubble continues to dazzle us with the splendour of our universe, and after the mission we look forward to many more years of awe-inspiring imagery.”
Altman and Johnson will be joined on the mission by astronauts Andrew Feustel, Michael Good, John Grunsfeld, Megan McArthur and Mike Massimino.
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