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Hubble Repair Mission is a Go!

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posted on Oct, 31 2006 @ 10:32 AM
Looks like a final shuttle mission to service the Hubble is going to happen after all. From the article:

The decision is in and the Hubble Space Telescope is saved.

NASA announced Tuesday that it will go ahead with one final space shuttle mission to repair and upgrade Hubble after months of debate over the risks of such an endeavor.

In the end, the decision came down to NASA chief Michael Griffin, who has long said that he would support a proposed Hubble servicing mission provided its risk did not exceed that already accepted for other shuttle flights. The mission will add years onto the Hubble’s lifetime and could help NASA prepare the space telescope for its ultimate, but controlled, plunge through the Earth’s atmosphere.

This mission will feature 5 spacewalks, add a new camera, batteries, gyroscopes, and a spectrograph, as well as boost the Hubble to a higher orbit. Anecdotal reports suggest that the mission will also include the installation of a de-orbit package, to control Hubble's return when it finally does take that firey plunge home. The jury's out on when the mission will fly; NASA Director Michael Griffin has suggested that Hubble will probably deteriorate to a point where it can't be saved in 2009 or 2010, so any servicing mission will have to occur before 2009, I would think.

If there are any problems during the launch of the repair flight - including a Columbia-like tile loss problem - the crew will have to repair the damage themselves or hope for a rescue flight. Putting in at the International Space Station is out, as the shuttle OMS engines can't give the orbiter enough delta-vee to move from Hubble's orbit to the ISS orbit.

Still, if they gave me the chance, I'd go

posted on Oct, 31 2006 @ 11:13 AM
I think this is great.

Even though they have the new Spitzer Telescope, they should get what they can out of the Hubble.

If you buy a new telescope, you don't through your old one away.

posted on Nov, 1 2006 @ 02:00 AM
I totaly agree, it's about time they serviced the hubble, even if it may be the last time. Throughout the years, I've looked at immages from hubble in awe, and it really gave me a new insight into the cosmoes. I'm glad they're gonna do a tune-up but like I said, it may be the last one. Just like a PC, over so many years, you can only upgrade it so much before new technology is made and you have to get a new one. I hope hubble stays in commision for as long as we need her.

posted on Nov, 1 2006 @ 02:05 AM
Where is the money coming from is all I want to know. If they are taking money away from other space telescopes then I'll still be against this. If it's new money, then I am sort of for it, but am more in favor of boosting it's orbit significantly/de-orbiting it safely and putting it in the smithsonian, though only if it's new money.

I hope hubble stays in commision for as long as we need her.

Check this out.

This is NOT a Hubble shot either... it's from a new Ground based telescope that is nearing completion. In a sense, the Hubble has been obsolete for a while now.

[edit on 1-11-2006 by sardion2000]

[edit on 1-11-2006 by sardion2000]

posted on Nov, 1 2006 @ 02:27 AM
Yes I've seen that image, very nice. But I still think it'd be good for hubble to be up and running, when it comes to tellescopes, safety in numbers heheh.
I'm not quite sure where the funding comes from, I would immagine that alot of it comes from outside sources, you know, people who've wrote books, actors, general people who love space exploration, there was a standing ovation when this news was announced and who knows who was attending the press confrence.
And like I've said, I'm sure that hubble could be upgraded with a new camera to produce images like the very nice one you posted, but it can only be upgraded so far. I think the Hubble just might have another 20 years life in it, maby more but who knows.

[edit on 1-11-2006 by Slash]

posted on Nov, 1 2006 @ 04:04 AM
It wasn't designed to be modular. Even in the computer world you gotta replace everything eventually including the case, and it just makes more sense to build a new one. We should look into Lunar Observatories IMO, as well as more Gravity Probes(which I think is going to be the most enlightening over the next 10-15 years). Our focus for the next 10-15 years should be on Gravity waves and Small Planet hunting, both tasks are not possible with the Hubble.

As long as this upgrade doesn't detract from other projects which will eventually eclipse Hubble in terms of knowledge gleaned I don't care. I think the money would be better spent on deorbiting it and placing it in the Smithsonian. The pricetag for that is 800 mil to 1.2 bill though...

posted on Nov, 1 2006 @ 09:26 AM
sardion2000 and Slash, I think the origin of your arguement is differing definitions of the word "modular": Hubble was designed to be serviced on orbit by the Shuttle,, which is why it was placed in a relatively low 590km, 28.5 degree orbit and not out at the Earth/Moon L2 point like the up-and-coming James Webb Space Telescope. Items like the Hubble's cameras and batteries (which will be replaced on the upcoming mission), as well as the observatory's solar arrays (which have been replaced 3 times already, IIRC). According to the original article, the Imaging Spectrograph due for repair on this mission wasn't designed to be worked on in space, making that repair another Shuttle/HST first.

As for sardion2000's concerns that other programs might suffer in order to service the Hubble one last time, it seems like those concerns are going to come to fruition. Total mission cost will be about $900 Million, which includes training, parts for the Hubble, and another pair of External Tanks, as well as four Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters, not to mention processing of two shuttles - all of which is necessary in order to have a rescue mission standing by in case something happens to the shuttle assigned the repair mission. This is likely to affect turning around launch site 39B to accomodate Ares I test launches.

While I'm at it, a little more news: the mission is now called STS-125 and is scheduled to lift off as early as May 2008. The mission has a 6-month launch window. The Shuttle Commander is Scott Altman, who also commanded Columbia during the 2002 STS-109 repair mission.

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