Feeds

NASA greenlights Hubble rescue

Servicing mission approved

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Hubble is saved. NASA has just announced that it will run a servicing mission to the ageing space telescope after more than two years of speculation about its fate.

NASA administrator Michael Griffin said the last three shuttle missions have provided convincing data that a mission to Hubble can be run safely.

"While there is an inherent risk in all spaceflight activities, the desire to preserve a truly international asset like the Hubble Space Telescope makes doing this mission the right course of action," he said.

As well as replacing failing parts and attempting repairs, the crew will install two new instruments, the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) and the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). COS is designed to probe the large scale structure of the universe, while WFC3 will photograph our own solar system and peer into galaxies currently beyond Hubble's reach.

Hubble's future was thrown into doubt when the Shuttle Columbia was lost, with all hands, in 2003.

When falling debris was identified as the cause of the disaster, NASA drafted new stringent safety procedures that meant sending a repair crew to the space telescope would be impossible. It ruled that all manned flights had to be able to get to the International Space Station in the event of any problems.

Various courses of action were proposed, from sending robotic servicing missions to simply allowing the telescope to crash into the ocean.

Details of the mission are still sketchy, but it is pencilled in for some time in 2008. Although the spacecraft and launch date are still undecided, the crew has been announced.

"Veteran astronaut Scott D Altman will command the final space shuttle mission to Hubble. Navy Reserve Capt Gregory C Johnson will serve as pilot. Mission specialists include veteran spacewalkers John M Grunsfeld and Michael J Massimino and first-time space fliers Andrew J Feustel, Michael T Good and K Megan McArthur," NASA said in a statement.

Altman commanded the last servicing mission to Hubble, STS-109, back in 2002. Grunsfeld is another repeat visitor. He has been to Hubble on two previous occasions. ®

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
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
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.