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My July fund-raising campaign, celebrating the 13th anniversary of the start of this website, has now ended. This was the second most successful monthly fund-raising campaign ever. Thank you again to everyone who has who donated or subscribed. It is difficult to explain what your support means to me.


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Momentus and Astroscale team up to propose Hubble servicing mission

Capitalism in space: The two orbital tug companies Momentus and Astroscale announced today that they have partnered to propose a servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope, designed to boost the telescope and extend its life.

The proposed mission concept, a commercial solution to extend the life of this important national asset without risk to humans, includes launching a Momentus Vigoride Orbital Service Vehicle (OSV) to low-Earth orbit on a small launch vehicle. Once on orbit, Astroscale’s RPOD technology built into the OSV would be used to safely rendezvous, approach and then complete a robotic capture of the telescope. Once mated, the OSV would perform a series of maneuvers to raise the Hubble by 50 km. Removal of surrounding and threatening space debris in Hubble’s new orbit using the Vigoride and Astroscale’s RPOD capabilities will be prioritized after the completion of the primary reboost mission.

As I have written repeatedly, Hubble is a telescope that refuses to die. I predicted that come the 2030s, when its orbit had decayed to a point that it either had to be de-orbited (NASA’s preferred option in the past when it ran everything) or be lifted to a higher orbit to extend its life, people would find a way to lift it.

Now that private enterprise is running the show, NASA is taking advantage of that to ask for private solutions to save Hubble, and not surprisingly it is quickly getting them.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • grndstnds

    Bob — are there any proposals to update the onboard computers or replace failed gyros? -G

  • grndstnds: Don’t know. The press release did not provide the specifics of this proposal.

    I firmly expect however to see such proposals. In five to seven years the capabilities of the robotic satellite servicing industry is going to grow exponentially. Add to this the added capabilities of many rocket launchers able to put larger payloads into orbit and it will be a no-brainer to consider doing this.

  • Doubting Thomas

    I see nothing further from the Polaris Dawn Team on Hubble Reboost or update/replacement of onboard equipment beyond this announcement from NASA:

    “The non-exclusive SpaceX study regarding the possibilities of reboosting the Hubble Space Telescope is ongoing. On Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022, NASA issued a Request for Information to seek additional information about commercial capabilities available to re-boost a satellite in orbit, using Hubble as a demonstration, at no cost to the government. ”

    Exciting but I tend to doubt that the spacesuit situation on the mission, which appears to be at about the level (tied to a suit-capsule umbilical for life-support) of the first American spacewalk of Ed White on Gemini 4 is conducive to either mission, re-boost or repair.

  • Star Bird

    Hubble has taken some incredible shots including a Eye in Space

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