Feeds

Bush bins Hubble fix

Not on the 2006 budget sheet

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.