Although Hubble was already supposed to recieve its final maintenance in 2005, with the recent failure of certain onboard equipment, Nasa-head Sean
O'Keefe has asked to start preparations to send up a robot mission to the space telescope to do the needed repairs, updates and maintenance.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AP) -- NASA said Tuesday it is moving ahead with plans to send a robot to the rescue of the aging Hubble Space Telescope.
The leading candidate is a clunky contraption named Dextre that bears little resemblance to movie-inspired visions of a robot.
A final decision won't be made until next summer on whether to launch the two-armed Dextre -- short for dexterous -- or any other robot to Hubble's
rescue in 3 1/2 years.
But already, it looks as though the Canadian Space Agency's robot could accomplish most, if not everything, that spacewalking astronauts were meant
to do. Dextre was originally designed for handiwork at the international space station.
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The mission is callculated to cost about 1 to 1,6 Billion $ and is already in works of being amended to the 2005 budget.
Dextre is the robot that was chosen to for the task.
"As it turns out, we haven't found any tasks that I would characterize as being outside the capability range of the robot that we have
planned," Diaz said in a news briefing. "Now I think, though, you have to take into consideration the risk that's associated with doing those
Dextre could open and close the doors of Hubble to get at science instruments, for example, and use tools to install a slew of new parts, Diaz said.
But some of the doors on the 14-year-old telescope could be warped; one was misaligned and difficult for an astronaut to close a full decade
Lets hope these plans come to reality and we can enjoy Hubble's magnificent shots for a few more years.
Apart from replacing the defect parts, they also plan to do maintenence on the onboard bateries, gyroscopes and to replace 2 camera's with current
So if the maintenance goes well, we might even see even greater pictures comming from Hubble in the comming years.
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[edit on 13-8-2004 by thematrix]
[edit on 8-13-2004 by Valhall]