In the new film "IMAX: Hubble 3D," viewers are brought inside the story of NASA's attempt to do last-chance repairs on the Hubble Space Telescope. After being initially launched into space in 1990, it was discovered that the telescope's mirror had a 1/50th of an inch-size flaw that compromised its focus and ultimately resulted in a 1993 repair mission.
Over the years, there have been four service missions, and those have allowed Hubble to look deeper and deeper into space.
In 2006, the launch of STS-125, the Space Shuttle mission to do final repairs on Hubble, was nearly canceled due to safety concerns stemming from the 2003 explosion of the Space Shuttle Columbia. But when the concept was proposed of sending the Space Shuttle Atlantis into space with a second shuttle on stand-by, NASA gave the go-ahead.
On May 19, 2009, after finishing the final round of repairs on the Hubble, a remote manipulator system arm on Atlantis hoists the telescope from the shuttle's cargo bay. Astronauts aboard Atlantis operated the IMAX 3D camera that was mounted in the shuttle's cargo bay after extensive training back home on Earth.
In this shot, taken in April 2009, underwater cinematographer Howard Hall positions the IMAX 3D camera in a waterproof case so he can film astronauts Michael Massimino, left, and Michael Good, rehearsing the steps they would take to repair Hubble at the NASA neutral buoyancy lab at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The work was done underwater because of the astronauts' ability there to mimic the weightlessness and lack of gravity of space.
The Hubble Space Telescope's new wide-field camera 3 took this image of the Carina Nebula and a stellar jet observed in light. The camera was one of the instruments installed by astronauts during the final Hubble repair mission.
In the so-called Butterfly Nebula, gas that was released by a dying star shoots through space at a speed in excess of 600,000 miles an hour. The resulting shape inspired the name of the nebula, and this image was one of the first that the Hubble's new Wide Field Camera 3 took after being installed by astronauts in 2009.
During the fifth and final space walk of the STS-125 mission, astronaut John Grunsfeld (on the shuttle arm) gives astronaut Andrew Feustel (left) a new cover, known as a NOBL. The image was shot by astronauts using the IMAX cargo bay camera mounted inside the Space Shuttle Atlantis.
During the mission's second space walk, astronaut Michael Good (on the shuttle's remote manipulator arm) helps astronaut Michael Massimino get into foot restraints that will allow him to work inside the Hubble without endangering any of the highly sensitive instruments he will be working around.
This composite image of the Helix Nebula was taken with both the Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Mosaic II camera on the 4-meter telescope at Chile's Cerro Tololo Inter-American observatory.
The main camera used in filming the Hubble mission aboard STS-125 was this giant IMAX 3D cargo bay camera. It holds more than a mile of film and is seen here at the Goddard Spaceflight Center in Maryland being prepared for installation aboard the Orbital Replacement Unit Carrier (ORUC).
This is the most clear view of the Orion Nebula that was taken by the Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys. In "IMAX: Hubble 3D," viewers are taken on an innovative 3D animated fly-through of Orion which depicts details of proplyds and stars previously visible only using the Hubble's advanced instruments.
Here, astronauts Michael Good (seen on the shuttle's remote manipulator arm) and Michael Massimino (inside the Hubble Space Telescope) work to replace Hubble's Rate Sensor Units (RSUs) during the STS-125 mission's second space walk.
Here, during the mission's fifth and final space walk, astronaut John Grunsfeld, who is positioned at the end of the Atlantis' remote manipulator system on a foot restraint, and astronaut Andrew Feustel replace a Fine Guidance Sensor.
During the STS-125 mission, astronaut Andrew Feustel transfers COSTAR, the Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement unit, from the Hubble to its temporary stowage position in Atlantis' cargo bay.