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View Full Version : Hubble scores one more visit from the optometrist.



cjolley
31st October 2006, 07:49
Good news.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/space/10/31/hubble.ap/index.html



CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AP) -- NASA Administrator Michael Griffin on Tuesday approved sending a space shuttle to repair the 16-year-old Hubble Space Telescope, reversing his predecessor's contentious decision to nix the mission.

"We are going to add a shuttle servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope to the shuttle's manifest to be flown before it retires," Griffin told workers at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland on Tuesday.

Griffin's announcement was greeted eagerly by astronomers who feared Hubble would deteriorate before the end of the decade without a mission to add new camera instruments, sensors and replace aging batteries.

The shuttle mission will likely be in early 2008.

Former NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe canceled a Hubble mission in the wake of the Columbia shuttle disaster that killed seven astronauts in 2003. O'Keefe believed the risks were too great and the remaining shuttle missions should focus on completing construction of the international space station.

Unlike the remaining 14 shuttle flights needed to finish space station construction, astronauts going to Hubble wouldn't have a refuge in the event of a catastrophic problem like the one that doomed Columbia. NASA would have another shuttle on the launch pad, ready to make an emergency rescue trip in case of trouble.

A rehab mission would keep Hubble working until about 2013. It would add two new camera instruments, upgrade aging batteries and stabilizing equipment, add new guidance sensors and repair a light-separating spectrograph.

Without a servicing mission, Hubble likely would deteriorate in 2009 or 2010.

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. (Hubble explainer)

The telescope also has popularized astronomy by producing countless wondrous images.

"I believe the risks are worth the reward of going into space for just about any mission, in particular the Hubble mission," said astronaut Jim Newman, who was on the last space shuttle mission to Hubble in 2002.

GT98
31st October 2006, 10:02
Guess this mission will be the final flight of the Shuttle

Dr Mordrid
31st October 2006, 10:09
Final flight to Hubble, yes. Final flight of the shuttle, no.

The final shuttle flight won't happen 2010, barring another fatal accident or the need for an STS-300 (rescue) mission. Either of those could end the program early, depending on how ugly it gets.

The worst case scenario for this mission is if an STS-300 mission is needed and the rescue shuttle suffers a failure. IIRC it's Atlantis that is being readied for an STS-300 of the Hubble mission; as in ready to launch if necessary.

No ISS lifeboat (different & higher orbit for Hubble), so you lose both shuttles & both crews unless there is a Soyuz ready to launch on need, and then you can only bring back 2 crew members per (max crew = 3: 1 pilot + 2 rescue e's). It would take 4 Soyuz to rescue them all, and I doubt the Russians could launch 4 Soyuz missions in that short a time frame.

Bottom line: who stays?

This mission is a huge risk.

BTW:

Last mission for Atlantis: STS-126 - October 30, 2008

Last mission for Discovery: STS-129 - April 30, 2009

Last mission for Endeavour: STS-132 - January 21, 2010

Barring contingency flights needed to finish ISS.

NASA has scheduled no further ISS missions after Orion 11 in December, 2015.

Orion flight schedule.... (http://forums.murc.ws/showthread.php?t=59049&highlight=orion)

[GDI]Raptor
31st October 2006, 11:36
Final flight to Hubble, yes. Final flight of the shuttle, no.

The worst case scenario for this mission is if an STS-300 mission is needed and the rescue shuttle suffers a failure. IIRC it's Atlantis that is being readied for an STS-300 of the Hubble mission; as in ready to launch if necessary.

No ISS lifeboat (different & higher orbit for Hubble), so you lose both shuttles & both crews unless there is a Soyuz ready to launch on need, and then you can only bring back 2 crew members per (max crew = 3: 1 pilot + 2 rescue e's). It would take 4 Soyuz to rescue them all, and I doubt the Russians could launch 4 Soyuz missions in that short a time frame.

Bottom line: who stays?

This mission is a huge risk.

BTW:

Last mission for Atlantis: STS-126 - October 30, 2008

Last mission for Discovery: STS-129 - April 30, 2009

Last mission for Endeavour: STS-132 - January 21, 2010

Barring contingency flights needed to finish ISS.

NASA has scheduled no further ISS missions after Orion 11 in December, 2015.

Orion flight schedule.... (http://forums.murc.ws/showthread.php?t=59049&highlight=orion)

STS-300 is not used as the mission name for a rescue anymore. The rescue mission (LON) for the hubble mission will be called STS-325. Your hypothetical calculations on the needed Soyuz's are also wrong. 4 Soyuz is only enough for one space shuttle. If you want to get both the crews for LON shuttle and STS-125, you would need 6 Soyuz's (7 persons on STS-125 and 4 persons on LON shuttle).

There are also two contingency flights for the shuttle that will be flown if time and money permits it. This is STS-131 for Discovery (NET 22th Oct 2010) and STS-133 for Endeavour (NET 15th Jul 2010)

I totaly disagree that this mission is a huge risk compared with other shuttle missions.

The shuttle's safety has been improved ALOT with the modifications to the tank, the two last missions (STS-121 and STS-115) had very little foam loss, and the smal amounts of foam that released where so late in the accent that it is not a risk.

Repair capabilites have also been developed, and the RCC-repair demonstrated on STS-121 was sucessfull.

Dr Mordrid
31st October 2006, 15:11
"STS-300" is used as a catchall term for any type of shuttle rescue mission.

LON (launch on need) is one type of STS-3xx mission. Another is LOD; launch on dedmand. Neither replaces the STS-3XX designation, which is only taken when the next orbiter in rotation has to be launched to rescue the previous one.