Thursday, 10 February 2005

Hubble is Dying

And they've pulled the plug. From SpaceDaily :
NASA denied funding to service the Hubble Space Telescope in its proposed 2006 budget Monday, effectively ending the telescope's mission in two years.

Astronomers had hoped the US would allocate the estimated one billion dollars necessary to prolong the life of the satellite-based telescope, which has enabled scientists to look deep into space and unravel some of the universe's mysteries.

"Hubble is a spacecraft that is dying," said NASA comptroller Steve Moskowitz.
Astronauts have serviced Hubble four times, and many scientists hoped that a fifth service mission would be funded to enable Hubble to function to 2011. Currently, it is believed that Hubble's aging solar cells will provide enough energy to survive to 2007.
Previous posts on the subject here and here.

The main reason why no money was allocated is that there's considerable doubt as to whether a mission could be mounted safely within the 2-year timeframe, no matter how much money was thrown at the problem.

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