Hubble lives on!

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NASA has extended the contract with the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland to operate the Hubble Space Telescope for another five years, through 2021.

Launched in 1990 and repaired for the first time in 1993, Hubble appears likely to operate for more than three decades, a stunning record for any spacecraft.



  • mpthompson

    The Hubble is a marvelous and stunning piece of equipment. It would be great to see NASA contract out one or more private repair and refurbishment missions to Hubble in 2021 along the lines of COTS. It would spur private space to develop EVA and a host of other capabilities. I realize that a capsule such as Dragon isn’t nearly as capable as the shuttle with regards to grappling Hubble, but I believe the significant repairs were done to Skylab by an Apollo capsule before the station was occupied. Hubble would offer a similar challenge.

  • D K Rögnvald Williams

    Kudos to the many people who worked on Hubble over the years and its servicing missions.

  • LocalFluff

    Maybe they should design 100 year spacecrafts?

  • Edward

    You have an excellent point. Up to now, we really have not had much ability to perform maintenance and repair on satellites or to refuel them with stationkeeping and attitude control propellants. Added to that the rapidity at which technology on satellites becomes obsolete and no one has really had much incentive to make long-lived satellites.

    As we have learned to maintain and update the Hubble Space Telescope, we have increased the incentive to make the basic telescopic optics last as long as Earth-based observatories, and as with Earth-based observatories, the instruments attached can be updated, replaced, or repaired as necessary. Now that we are figuring out how to refuel satellites, it should not be long before the 100-year spacecraft would be very desirable.

    if one of the 50 foot (fully extended, but folds up into a shorter length) Canadarms (Shuttle Remote Manipulator System arms from the space shuttle) does not fit in the Dragon’s trunk, which seems to be only 24 feet long, perhaps one could be made that does fit. That should help with any future Hubble servicing missions.

    This is what I mean, whenever I say that having 300 million Americans, or seven billion people worldwide, creating new ideas is better than having one committee thinking about them. People on this one site alone keep presenting good and interesting ideas for things to do in space or ways to improve our space exploration. It’s one of the reasons that I love reading everyone’s comments. This is the only website where I regularly read the comments. Sometimes they are even better than Robert’s original commentary. (Sorry, Robert, but you have some really smart, inspired, and thoughtful readers. Consider it as “too much success.”)

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