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Could Hubble get another servicing mission ?


Posted on Wednesday, 15 February, 2017 | Comment icon 4 comments

Hubble has been our window in to the universe for almost three decades. Image Credit: NASA / JSC
It is looking increasingly likely that the iconic space telescope will be receiving further upgrades.
Launched all the way back in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has been providing unparalleled views of the cosmos for the better part of three decades.

Since its launch it has received numerous repairs and upgrades as part of five manned service missions including one in 1993 that was needed to correct a problem with its main mirror.

All of these missions involved sending astronauts up to the telescope via Space Shuttle, but now with the program having ended in 2011, the future of Hubble remains unclear.

The telescope is currently in full working order, but without further servicing it will eventually fail.

There is also the fact that its successor, the $9 billion James Webb Telescope, will essentially replace the ageing Hubble when it launches in 2018.

Now though, the Sierra Nevada Corporation - developer of the Dream Chaser spacecraft - is pitching a proposal to the Trump Administration to launch further Hubble servicing missions.

The telescope could be upgraded with new, modern components and could even act as an "insurance policy" in case anything were to go wrong with the James Webb.

The two telescopes would also work well together, complementing one another's discoveries. All things considered, it seems like a better idea than allowing it to fall in to disrepair.

Whether the Dream Chaser spacecraft will be up to the task however remains to be seen.

Source: Popular Mechanics | Comments (4)

Tags: Hubble

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Derek Willis on 15 February, 2017, 15:49
I was just reading about the James Webb telescope and saw how this is described as the "successor to the Hubble". It will be fantastic if one or more repair missions are mounted in future to keep the Hubble going. I suppose after the shuttle was retired NASA were unable to make any commitments to maintaining the Hubble. But now that the commercial launchers are coming on stream, perhaps the Hubble will be around for decades to come.
Comment icon #2 Posted by paperdyer on 15 February, 2017, 20:49
I hope they do repair it. Alos when the Hubble finally goes out of service, it's just not left up there to crash and burn with a deteriorating orbit. That just wouldn't seem right.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Merc14 on 15 February, 2017, 22:45
JWST is going to be a pins and needles few months I am thinking.  A whole lot has to unroll, unfold and click into place correctly once it leaves orbit and there is no chance of repairing it.  Incredible machine though and I hope all goes well in 2018 when it is launched. If I remember correctly,  Hubble needed the Shuttle to nudge it back into its original orbital altitude every few years so  if nothing is done its orbit will eventually decay and it will burn up.  I know they were talking about sending a small satellite to control its reentry but it will not be staying in orbit indefinitely w... [More]
Comment icon #4 Posted by geraldnewfie on 16 February, 2017, 14:34
i dont think trump got any mindset on space stuff, all he is worried about is the wall, war and illegal immigrants


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