IMAX 3D cameras will return to space to document one of NASA's most complex space shuttle operations—the final servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.
Atlantis launches. (NASA photo)
The IMAX 3D cameras will launch aboard space shuttle Atlantis, scheduled for liftoff May 11. Astronauts will use the cameras to film five spacewalks needed to repair and upgrade Hubble. The IMAX footage will be combined with detailed images of distant galaxies from Hubble in the upcoming IMAX and Warner Bros. Pictures co-production, "Hubble 3D," set for release in spring 2010.
"We have worked with IMAX on past Hubble missions and are excited about working with them again on the current Hubble mission. The Hubble Space Telescope continues to dazzle us with the splendor of our universe, and after the mission we look forward to many more years of awe-inspiring imagery," said Bob Jacobs, NASA's acting assistant administrator for public affairs at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "IMAX has developed innovative 3D image capture and projection technology that creates a large-scale, immersive educational experience in which those of us on the ground are no longer passive observers of spaceflight, we're active participants."
The IMAX team has trained Atlantis' crew at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston to operate the cameras. One will be mounted outside the crew cabin in the shuttle's cargo bay to capture IMAX 3D images of the mission. The commander and pilot will double as filmmakers as two teams of spacewalking astronauts—working with the shuttle's robotic arm—perform some of the most challenging work ever undertaken in space as they replace and refurbish many of the telescope's precision instruments.
"It's been said that the IMAX experience is the next best thing to being in space, and with IMAX 3-D, the audience really is there," said producer and director Toni Myers. "Fifteen years ago, we made a film about space exploration that included Hubble, when it started sending back the first images. Today, we have Hubble's entire phenomenal legacy of data to explore. With IMAX 3-D, we can transport people to galaxies that are 13 billion light years away—back to the edge of time. Real star travel is here at last."
IMAX's longstanding partnership with NASA has led to a series of award-winning IMAX films. The IMAX 3D camera made its first voyage into space in 2001 for the production of "Space Station 3D." The "Hubble 3D" film will mark Warner Bros. Pictures' first venture into space.
Hubble Servicing Mission STS-125 www.nasa.gov/hubble
Space Shuttle www.nasa.gov/shuttle