The Astro Mission Series

The Astro series of Spacelab missions were launched in the 1990's on the Space Shuttle, and utilized Spacelab mechanical and electrical subsystems to host telescopes which made astronomical observations. The telescopes utilization the Spacelab Instrument Pointing System, or IPS, to provide stability and pointing accuracy to support their observations. The telescopes were mounted on a cruciform structure, which in turn attached to the IPS.

After numerous delays, Astro-1 launched on December 2, 1990, aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia as part of STS-35. The complement of scientific experiments included three telescopes that conducted ultraviolet observations: the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope (HUT), the Wisconsin Ultraviolet Photo Polarimeter Experiment (WUPPE), and the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UIT). In addition, there was a fourth telescope, the Broad Band X-ray Telescope, which performed x-ray astronomical observations.

Astro-2 was launched on March 2, 1995, aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour as part of STS-67. The three ultraviolet imaging telescopes from Astro-1 flew as the telescope complement on Astro-2.