The Hubble Space Telescope is an unmanned satellite carrying a large visible and infrared light telescope. It was launched by NASA on April 24, 1990. The US space agency says it will remain active until the end of this decade. However, NASA shared a statement yesterday claiming that it is studying with SpaceX to extend the life of the Hubble telescope.
The telescope is within the reach of NASA, in fact, this instrument received many corrections and improvements between 1993 and 2009. Now, these two companies will be able to give Hubble a longer life. So, what should be done?
NASA and SpaceX want to breathe new life into Hubble
NASA mentioned on your website which signed an agreement with SpaceX to study the feasibility of an idea from the SpaceX and Polaris program to propel the agency's Hubble Space Telescope into higher orbit with the Dragon spacecraft, at no cost to the government.
This equipment that has been to this day from those who Bring us more about the distant universe, It has been operating since 1990 about 540 kilometers from Earth, an orbit that slowly decays over time.
Thus, Hubble lacks onboard thrust to counteract the small but noticeable atmospheric resistance in that region of space, and its altitude was previously readjusted during space shuttle missions. The new project will include a SpaceX capsule.
A few months ago, SpaceX approached NASA with the idea of studying whether a commercial crew could help propel our Hubble spacecraft.
NASA chief scientist Thomas Zurbuchen said.
One of the most important tools in discovering the universe
Zurbuchen added that the agency accepted the study for free. Moreover, the scientist said, there are no concrete plans at the moment to conduct or fund a task like this until the technical challenges are better understood.
SpaceX proposed the idea in partnership with Polaris, a private manned spaceflight company run by billionaire Jared Isaacman, who last year leased the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft to orbit the Earth with three other private astronauts.
In response to a reporter who asked if there could be a perception that the mission was designed to assign tasks to the wealthy in space, Zurbuchen replied:
I think it is appropriate to consider it because of the tremendous value of these research assets to us.
In fact, this is probably one of the most valuable tools in scientific history. Hubble continues to make important discoveries, including this year's discovery of the most distant single star ever seen, to Earndalewhose light took 12.9 billion years to reach Earth.
According to Patrick Cross, who is responsible for the Hubble project, the telescope is currently expected to remain in operation throughout this decade, with a 50% chance of being out of orbit in 2037,
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