Hubble repair to be decided

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Abbey Normal, Oct 24, 2006.

  1. Abbey Normal
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    Abbey Normal Senior Member

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    I so hope they decide to repair it. The information we've gleaned from the Hubble is nothing short of amazing.


    NASA chief to decide soon on astronaut mission to repair Hubble Space Telescope in 2008
    By Mike Schneider
    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    11:17 a.m. October 23, 2006

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The fate of what some scientists dub “the people's telescope” is again up in the air as NASA decides soon whether to squeeze in a last astronaut repair mission to extend the life of the Hubble Space Telescope.

    On Friday, NASA engineers will debate the safety of sending a fifth and final manned space shuttle flight to the 16-year-old telescope, probably in 2008. Soon afterward, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin will make the final call.

    His decision could prolong Hubble's ability to capture some the most spectacular images of the universe well into the next decade or allow the telescope to deteriorate into oblivion by 2009 or 2010.
    Griffin worked on Hubble earlier in his career and recently described it as “one of the great scientific instruments of all time.” Unlike his predecessor, he has expressed a willingness to repair it.

    “If we can do it safely, we want to do it,” Griffin said. “But we have new constraints on ... the space shuttle system. We have a new understanding of its fragility and vulnerability.”

    The final Hubble repair mission was canceled by former NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe 2½ years ago after the space shuttle Columbia disaster which killed seven astronauts in 2003. The decision was roundly criticized by scientists and politicians, but the ex-administrator cited the risk to astronauts and the need to use the remaining shuttle flights to finish building the international space station.

    O'Keefe had proposed using a robot to service Hubble, but a scientific advisory panel said the chance of completing such a mission on time was remote and that a manned mission had better odds of succeeding. The committee also said the risks of flying to Hubble weren't much greater than going to the space station.

    The primary concern lies with astronaut safety. If the astronauts go to Hubble, they won't be able to seek refuge at the space station should there be a catastrophic problem like the one that doomed Columbia.
    ...

    The remaining 14 shuttle flights are dedicated to completing the space station by the time the fleet is grounded in 2010. If a Hubble servicing mission is approved, it would have to be squeezed into the space station construction schedule sometime in early 2008.

    NASA also would have another shuttle on the launch pad, ready to make an emergency rescue trip if there were a catastrophic problem.

    “I'd tell them to go ahead and do it, but don't grit your teeth,” said Howard McCurdy, a space policy expert at American University. “And this is going to be a teeth-gritting mission.”

    On the list of Hubble repairs are replacement of aging batteries, guidance sensors and gyroscopes.

    Among the Hubble's many scientific accomplishments, the telescope has enabled direct observation of the universe as it was 12 billion years ago, discovered black holes at the center of many galaxies, provided measurements that helped establish the size and age of the universe and offered evidence that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. But the telescope also has popularized astronomy by producing countless wondrous images.
    ...

    Full article: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/science/20061023-1117-shuttle-hubble.html
     
  2. onedomino
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    onedomino SCE to AUX

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  3. Abbey Normal
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    Abbey Normal Senior Member

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    I would wonder if the funding is capable of being withdrawn. Bush has been very vocal about supporting space exploration. Not all politicians are...
     
  4. Bullypulpit
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    Bullypulpit Senior Member

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    The data already has gathered has helped expand our understanding of the univserse and it origins greatly. Why blind the eyes of science if they can get a few more years of service before the next generation of instruments hits orbit?
     
  5. onedomino
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    onedomino SCE to AUX

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    I agree. Not only that, but with retrofits of its scientific instruments, Hubble can be kept at the forefront of science. The JWT will orbit much further out in space than Hubble. But the JWT will not be easy (if it is reasonably possible at all) to service by spacecraft dispatched from Earth.
     
  6. Abbey Normal
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    Abbey Normal Senior Member

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  7. Bullypulpit
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    Bullypulpit Senior Member

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  8. onedomino
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    onedomino SCE to AUX

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    That is a good site Bully. Thanks.
     
  9. Abbey Normal
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    Abbey Normal Senior Member

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    Prognosis is good for Hubble
    NASA plans major announcement Tuesday


    Associated Press
    Sun, Oct. 29, 2006

    WASHINGTON — Signs are promising for a repair of the aging but popular Hubble Space Telescope, once thought doomed because of worries over astronaut safety.

    NASA set plans for a big announcement after top officials met for three hours Friday to consider the value and risks of sending astronauts to repair the Hubble, extending its life for several more years.

    The decision rests with NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, who hasn't yet made up his mind, NASA spokesman Dean Acosta said Friday in an e-mail.

    However, the space agency sent out a press release about a gala announcement ceremony for Tuesday at the Goddard Space Center in the Maryland suburbs of Washington. The Goddard center helps oversee the 16-year-old space telescope.

    The NASA press release said the ceremony includes a "news conference with the astronauts who would carry out the mission" — if the agency decides to go ahead with a shuttle flight to rehab the telescope.

    "You should not read anything into it," Acosta said about the news release. "If the answer is no, then obviously we're not going to do all those things."

    Astronomers across the country have lobbied loudly to keep the Hubble working.

    Griffin has previously said, "If we can do it safely, we want to do it."

    The NASA chief worked on Hubble earlier in his career and recently described it as "one of the great scientific instruments of all time."

    "I think they've decided yes, but they haven't done it officially," said University of Wisconsin-Madison astronomer Jay Gallagher, who is a member of a science team responsible for one of Hubble's cameras. "Everything we've been hearing in our community is yes, so I'm hopeful that this is going to happen."

    The issue that NASA officials had to wrestle with was shuttle safety. If the spacecraft heading to the aging telescope has a problem, there is no place to go for safe haven, unlike NASA's 14 remaining shuttle missions to the international space station.

    http://www.twincities.com/mld/twinc...9572.htm?source=rss&channel=twincities_nation
     
  10. BaronVonBigmeat
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    BaronVonBigmeat Senior Member

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    I can't imagine the reasoning behind wanting to send up astronauts in a rickety socialist space antique deathtrap to fix it, when there is a much better replacement coming in a few years.
     

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