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IMAX movie shows success of bearings operating in extreme conditions

Canton, OH -- Two industrial companies play a supporting role with astronauts performing a spacewalk repair in...


Canton, OH — Two industrial companies play a supporting role with astronauts performing a spacewalk repair in the movie Hubble 3D, currently showing at IMAX theatres in 48 countries worldwide.

In May 2009, when the future of the Hubble space telescope was hinging on delicate repairs performed by NASA astronauts using ATK’s Mini Power Tool, ATK turned to a trusted source for precision components required for the job. Now ATK and Timken are featured in the movie.

ATK’s Mini Power Tool equipped with Timken custom thin-section precision ball bearings engineered especially for the application’s unique requirements helped to enable the crucial repairs to return the Hubble Space Telescope to active duty.

Wearing bulky spacesuit gloves, the astronauts operated the Mini Power Tool to unfasten dozens of tiny screws and replace circuit boards on the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS), all while orbiting the Earth at 17,500 mph.

The instrument repairs were critical to the ongoing operation of the Hubble telescope, which has since revealed new images of faraway galaxies after resuming its journey.

Timken engineered the miniature bearings in close collaboration with ATK to achieve smooth operation in the challenging space environment. Extreme operating temperatures, the vacuum of space and failsafe mechanical requirements were among the design parameters ATK and Timken engineers had to consider in designing the tool. Both companies have pedigrees supplying space-certified hardware for numerous NASA missions.