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  Saving or scrapping the Hubble Space Telescope

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Author Topic:   Saving or scrapping the Hubble Space Telescope
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29177
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-28-2004 10:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Houston Chronicle: Astronauts, senator join forces to rescue telescope
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, has joined the campaign to save the Hubble Space Telescope, siding with 26 former astronauts who want NASA to reinstate a manned shuttle mission that could fix and salvage the aging scientific eye.

In a letter sent to the White House on Thursday, Hutchison urged President Bush to reconsider plans to retire Hubble, saying it has "not yet outlived its scientific usefulness" and that NASA has nothing comparable to succeed it.

She attached to the letter a petition signed by 26 former astronauts, including Apollo veteran Walter Cunningham of Houston, Mercury's Scott Carpenter and Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29177
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-29-2004 09:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Spaceref has published the content of the letter. The former astronauts that signed are as follows:
  • Loren Acton, STS 51F
  • Scott Carpenter, Mercury Aurora Seven
  • Gerald Carr, Skylab 4
  • Bob Cenker, STS 61C
  • Gene Cernan, Gemini 9, Apollo 10, Apollo 17
  • Bob Crippen, STS-1, STS-7, STS-41C, STS-41G
  • Walter Cunningham, Apollo 7
  • Charles Duke, Apollo 16
  • John Fabian, STS-7, STS-51G
  • Owen Garriott, Skylab-3, STS-9
  • Ed Gibson, Skylab 4
  • Richard Gordon, Gemini 11, Apollo 12
  • Susan (Still) Kilrain, STS-83, STS-94
  • Kevin Kregel, STS-70, STS-78, STS-87, STS-99
  • Byron Lichtenberg STS-9, STS-45
  • Jack Lousma, Skylab 3, STS-3
  • Jon McBride, STS-41G
  • Carl Meade, STS-38, STS-50, STS-64
  • Mike Mullane, STS-41D, STS-27, STS-36
  • Donald Peterson, STS-6
  • Mario Runco, STS-44, STS-54, STS-77
  • Russell Schweickart, Apollo 9
  • Richard Searfoss, STS-58, STS-76, STS-90
  • Woody Spring, STS-61B
  • James van Hoften, STS-41C, STS-51I
  • Al Worden, Apollo 15

SpaceAholic
Member

Posts: 3156
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-18-2004 06:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Disappointing... but noteworthy perhaps that smart guys like Story Musgrave have not signed...

pokey
Member

Posts: 346
From: Houston, TX, USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 06-18-2004 10:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for pokey   Click Here to Email pokey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It could be they had problems catching up with Story. He's a busy man.

I find it unusual that Runco is signing a petition to request action by the government agency he still works for at a management level.

spaceuk
Member

Posts: 2113
From: Staffs, UK
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 06-18-2004 01:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I tip my hat to those astronauts who have signed

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29177
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-18-2004 06:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
June 16, 2004

The Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchison
United States Senate
284 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Hutchison:

Two weeks ago I consented to have my name affixed to a letter addressed to you expressing concern over the future of the Hubble telescope. I did so without participating as an author and without seeing a copy of the letter beforehand - regrettably breaking my own longstanding rules concerning the endorsement of someone else's agenda. In addition, I had no idea that the subject letter was headed for The President's desk - I just assumed it was meant to get Sean O'Keefe's attention. Nor was I aware at that time of both the technical and political ramifications that manned Hubble servicing might have on the return of the shuttle to flight - both expeditiously and safely. In the past ten days, I have spent considerable time exploring the impact that manned Hubble servicing requirements can have on the near term future of the shuttle and as a result am far more aware of the challenges involved in meeting the requirements placed upon certifying the shuttle for its return to space. I am now better informed, am a little wiser on the subject, and today am retracting my support as expressed in the subject letter. I believe we all realize the significance of both the scientific results of and public interest in the Hubble. I also believe that if there is a way either manned or robotically, the Hubble will continue to be a serviceable asset without comprising the shuttle's primary mission of space station completion.

With this letter I hope to correct a "knee-jerk reaction" to a request for my support for an issue that may have merit, but under the current environment, is certainly in need of further study.

Thank you, Senator Hutchison, for the leadership role you play in Washington. I look forward to our next visit.

Sincerely,

Eugene A. Cernan

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29177
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-18-2004 07:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lt. General Thomas P. Stafford USAF (Ret.)
Co-chairman Stafford/Covey Return to Flight Task Group
1006 Cameron Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

June 7, 2004

Dear Senator Hutchinson:

I am writing in response to your May 26, 2004, letter to President Bush asking that the Hubble Space Telescope manned repair mission be reinstated to NASA's flight manifest.

As chairman of the first Hubble Space Telescope (HST) servicing mission review, and as co-chairman of the Return to Flight Task Group charged with reporting on NASA's actions to meet the recommendations of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) I understand the technical and operational challenges of servicing the HST as well as the constraints under which the Shuttle Program is operating.

We all agree that the HST is a marvelous scientific instrument, and it is my hope that its operational lifetime can be extended. This can indeed be accomplished via an unmanned robotic mission instead of with a manned Space Shuttle.

It is not necessary to send humans when a robotic mission can extend the useful life of the HST. By advocating an unmanned robotic mission to the HST, NASA has not only embraced the CAIB recommendations, but has taken a step to preclude undue risk. As an added benefit, the demonstration of such robotic capabilities will be important as NASA implements the vision for space exploration.

I appreciate the contributions and service you have given our country. Please fell free to contact me on this matter if I may be of assistance.

Sincerely

Lt. General Thomas P. Stafford, USAF (ret.)
Gemini VI
Gemini IX
Apollo 10
Apollo-Soyuz Test Project

DavidH
Member

Posts: 1203
From: Huntsville, AL, USA
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 08-24-2004 10:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
New York Times: Support grows for robotic Hubble servicing
NASA is becoming increasingly optimistic that the failing Hubble Space Telescope can be revived and rejuvenated at the hands of a robot rescuer.

Scientists and engineers, working on ways to extend the life of one of astronomy's most valuable tools, say early studies indicate they have a good shot at developing a robotic spacecraft that can take the place of spacewalking astronauts in repairing and upgrading Hubble. And even some scientists who at first doubted that a robot could do the job are becoming less skeptical.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29177
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-21-2005 01:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SPACE.com/Space News:
White House Cuts Hubble Servicing Mission from 2006 Budget Request
The White House has eliminated funding for a mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope from its 2006 budget request and directed NASA to focus solely on de-orbiting the popular spacecraft at the end of its life, according to government and industry sources.

NASA is debating when and how to announce the change of plans. Sources told Space News that outgoing NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe likely will make the announcement Feb. 7 during the public presentation of the U.S. space agency's 2006 budget request.

mensax
Member

Posts: 861
From: Virginia
Registered: Apr 2002

posted 01-21-2005 05:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mensax   Click Here to Email mensax     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm real sorry to hear about this. The Hubble has been such a great piece of equipment.

I suppose this is an effort to stay focused on the mission of going back to the Moon and on to Mars. With a universe as big as ours there certainly isn't any shortage of opportunities to explore. Maybe we'll put a nice scope on the Moon?

SpaceAholic
Member

Posts: 3156
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-21-2005 06:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Long term goals/payoffs have taken precedent over shortterm gratification....good move from my perspective..most of the science HST would have collected during a couple of extended years of its lifespan will still be there for harvesting when more capable instruments are deployed in the next decade...

spaceuk
Member

Posts: 2113
From: Staffs, UK
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 01-22-2005 06:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How much of the hardware is currently available for the Hubble repair? All of it? Some proportion of it?

Where is that hardware? At KSC? At manufacturers? Still on drawing board?

DavidH
Member

Posts: 1203
From: Huntsville, AL, USA
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 01-24-2005 12:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cosmic Log has some discussion about this topic.

So, any predictions from the cS crowd:

Is this the end? Will Congress make NASA send a robot to Hubble? Will they make the agency send humans? What happens now?

eurospace
Member

Posts: 2334
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Dec 2000

posted 01-24-2005 02:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
January 23, 2005

Dear SaveTheHubble.org Petitioner,

Reuters reported on Sunday that on February 7th the Bush administration will announce a proposal to cut Hubble's funding, thereby ending any opportunity for a servicing mission to fix the telescope. If Hubble is to be saved, we must act now to raise awareness.

With over 40,000 signers of our petition to date, an average contribution of just $10 can make a big difference. All of the money will go toward a media campaign to publicize Hubble's fate and to force the Bush administration to acknowledge that if the Space Shuttle is safe enough for many missions over the next decade to construct the Space Station, it is safe enough for one mission to service Hubble.

Please click here https://www.slooh.com/savethehubble/contribute.jsp to make a contribution today so we can prepare to make a public argument in response to the budgetary announcement that will be made on February 7th. We must raise a minimum of $100,000 if we are to make any kind of impact.

I welcome any ideas in support of this cause - please do not hesitate to contact me directly at mike@slooh.com.

Best regards,

Michael Paolucci
www.savethehubble.org
www.slooh.com

spaceuk
Member

Posts: 2113
From: Staffs, UK
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 02-14-2005 11:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With all the pointers looking like the demise of Hubble, here is a small slide show showing a Hubble Exhibition I did fairly recently.

Slides show the backroom comms unit from MCC used communicate with EVA crews, shuttle blanket from a Hubble mission, an early TIME cover of Profesor Hubble, mission patches, flown Hubble payload bay liner, Hubble USPO stamps and some other 'bits'.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29177
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-29-2005 10:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Florida Today: Work resumes on mission to save Hubble
NASA has resumed work on a mission to send the space shuttle to service the Hubble Space Telescope although the agency has yet to decide for sure whether to fly the mission, Administrator Michael Griffin said this morning.

Workers at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland are starting the preparation work to revive a mission to repair and extend the life of the history-making telescope, which engineers say would work only a few more years without being serviced.

FFrench
Member

Posts: 3097
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 04-29-2005 12:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
YAY!!

spaceuk
Member

Posts: 2113
From: Staffs, UK
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 11-20-2005 02:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
US Congress adopted NASA budget by a 94-5 vote in the Senate. It now goes to President Bush for his signature. The measure provides the space agency with $16.5 billion for fiscal year 2006.

Included is $270 million more for a servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. However, it still has to be reviewed by Mike Griffin, NASA Administrator.

I for one would encourage him to carry out this mission and help put Hubble into a safe operational orbit that maximises it chances of 'survival' until a CEV can arrive there?

november25
Member

Posts: 646
From: Douglas, Isle of Man, UK
Registered: Feb 2004

posted 11-20-2005 11:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for november25   Click Here to Email november25     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Phill, I agree with you there about Hubble. We will have to wait and see what happens.

Trust the NASA bosses will think about Hubble's future more closely, and what it has to offer in the long term. Hubble has given us more about the universe then anyone realizes.

DavidH
Member

Posts: 1203
From: Huntsville, AL, USA
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 11-21-2005 09:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DavidH   Click Here to Email DavidH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Without a large bay or a grappling arm, would a CEV even be able to perform any sort of meaningful Hubble servicing mission?

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