'Infinite Worlds': NASA's Last Hubble Telescope Mission in Photos by Michael Soluri

'Infinite Worlds' by Michael Soluri

© Michael Soluri/Infinite Worlds

The Hubble Space Telescope has transformed our view of the universe for over two decades. But the instrument was not alone. Four servicing missions repaired upgraded the telescope over the years, including the final one in May 2009. Photographer Michael Soluri chronicled that final Hubble mission in his book "Infinite Worlds: The People and Places of Space Exploration". For three years, Soluri had unprecedented access to the astronaut crew, labor force and even the tools that would be used in outer space. Watch our interview with Michael Soluri and see a sneak peek in this gallery.

Water's Weightlessness

© Michael Soluri/Infinite Worlds

Deep water diving is essential to training for the weightlessness of outer space. The crew practiced their five scheduled space walks in NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory over the course of 18 months.

A Spacesuit Struggle

© Michael Soluri/Infinite Worlds

Astronaut Michael Massimino struggles into his space suit with the help of two others.

Defying Odds

© Michael Soluri/Infinite Worlds

Christy Hansen trained the astronaut crew to perform the necessary tasks for the last servicing mission. She wrote "What If, What If?" for Infinite Worlds. There she describes how she has jumped nearly every hurtle — including being discouraged from taking an AP Physics class when she was told that women were distractions to guys in the classroom — in order to reach where she is. Needless to say, she took that class anyways.

Preparing for the Vacuum of Space

© Michael Soluri/Infinite Worlds

Wearing flight-like Extravehicular Mobility Unit gloves, Astronaut John Grunsfeld trains in the High Fidelity Mechanical Simulator at the Goddard Space Flight Center.

The Telescope's Twin

© Michael Soluri/Infinite Worlds

All instrument bays in the clean room are electrically identical to those found on the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope.

A Sluggish Crawl

© Michael Soluri/Infinite Worlds

At the Kennedy Space Center, a tech mechanic walks along with the crawler transporting the Mobile Launch Platform with Atlantis for the 3.5 mile trek to launch pad 39A.

The Calm Before the Storm

© Michael Soluri/Infinite Worlds

The space shuttle Atlantis waits.


© Michael Soluri/Infinite Worlds

Commander Scott "Scooter" Altman gazes toward Atlantis.

A Shuttle Waits

© Michael Soluri/Infinite Worlds

Several months before the launch, Atlantis sits on Pad 39 A and rescue mission Endeavour sits on Pad 39B.

One Final Preparation

© Michael Soluri/Infinite Worlds

Astronaut John Grunsfeld.

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Shannon Hall

Shannon Hall is an award-winning freelance science journalist, who specializes in writing about astronomy, geology and the environment. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Scientific American, National Geographic, Nature, Quanta and elsewhere. A constant nomad, she has lived in a Buddhist temple in Thailand, slept under the stars in the Sahara and reported several stories aboard an icebreaker near the North Pole.