Feeds

Bush bins Hubble fix

Not on the 2006 budget sheet

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The Bush administration has cut funding for any future mission manned or robotic, to service the Hubble Space Telescope, according to anonymous sources, cited by The Washington Post.

The paper reports that NASA has binned its plans to send a robot to service the telescope so that it can focus its resources on Bush's Martian ambitions. Unnamed officials, also quoted in The Post, have confirmed that Congress will not approve funding for the mission, and that it does not appear on Bush's 2006 fiscal plans.

Hubble has operated for 14 years, and in that time has sent back huge numbers of scientifically important and visually stunning images of the universe. Its original mission was designed to run for 15 years, with regular service visits from the Shuttle.

The anonymous official said that the risk of such an expensive mission for just an extra year of service had been deemed too high. Costs are expected to run to at least $1bn, and there are doubts over the viability of the mission. One feasibility study puts the likelihood of failure at 80 per cent.

Hubble's supporters suggest that its actual lifetime could be extended to over 20 years, if the service missions continue. However, following the Columbia Shuttle disaster, NASA grounded all flights to the telescope; and Hubble is nearly a year overdue for its fourth service mission. Sean O'Keefe, out-going NASA chief administrator, as deemed as too risky missions on a non-space station orbit, according to reports.

"Hubble could easily live well beyond 20 years, and furthermore, the National Academy committee stated that the future discoveries from Hubble over the next five years are every bit as bright as the discoveries we've seen in the past," Steve Beckwith, head of the Space Telescope Science Institute, the body that manages Hubble. "I'm hoping that our lawmakers will see the value of Hubble and make it a priority in NASA's budget," he told the Washington Post.

The news comes days after the American Astronomical Society (AAS) endorsed the National Research Council's recommendation that astronauts using the Space Shuttle should service Hubble. ®

Related stories

AAS: astronauts not robots should fix Hubble
Deep Impact en route to Tempel 1
Work begins on Hubble's replacement

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.