SpaceX and NASA have agreed to study the possibility of sending a Dragon spacecraft to the Hubble Space Telescope to repair and raise the telescope's orbit.
If the results of the analysis are good, a mixed commercial repair mission to the telescope can be organized in the future.
The Hubble telescope has been operating in Earth orbit since 1990, holding the record for the longest continuous operation among space telescopes.
During the time of the Shuttle program, the astronauts carried out missions to replace and repair the equipment of the telescope.
This was an important task to ensure the survivability of the observatory.
However, after 2009, flights ceased and the telescope's systems, despite being backed up, are increasingly experiencing failures.
Still, NASA decided to extend the telescope's science program until 2026.
A NEW HOPE
Then, yesterday September 29, NASA and SpaceX, in partnership with the Polaris program, signed a non-government-funded agreement to conduct studies on the Hubble telescope.
The exploration will last about six months for the possibility of rendezvous and docking of the Dragon spacecraft with a telescope to repair it or raise its orbit.
As far as we know, neither SpaceX nor NASA are developing a project to repair and raise the Hubble orbit.
Initially, the telescope was launched into an orbit with a height of 600 kilometers, but now the orbit is 540 kilometers.
If the orbit is not lifted, the telescope will work for no more than 10 years, after which it will de-orbit and burn up in the Earth's atmosphere.
But if the orbit increases, the mythic Hubble can be operational for another 15-20 years, provided that critical systems do not fail.
- NASA: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2022/nasa-spacex-to-study-hubble-telescope-reboost-possibility/
- New Scientist: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2340457-spacex-may-help-the-hubble-space-telescope-boost-its-lifespan/
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