The US Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is cooperating with SpaceX, billionaire Elon Musk’s space technology company, to increase the orbital altitude of the Hubble telescope using the Dragon spacecraft.
The Hubble Space Telescope.
The Hubble Space Telescope. (Photo: NASA)
Speaking to the press, NASA chief scientist Thomas Zurbuchen said SpaceX would fund all costs of the above 6-month research. A few months ago, SpaceX made a proposal to NASA regarding study how a commercial spacecraft could help increase the orbital altitude of the Hubble telescopethus extending the useful life of this telescope.
SpaceX Vice President of Customer Operations, Ms. Jessica Jensen, said this study will analyze whether the Dragon spacecraft should be modified to dock and elevate the Hubble Telescope’s orbit, as well as determine whether astronauts should participate or no to this mission. . Ms. Jensen said that at the moment everything is under discussion.
Meanwhile, NASA said research teams will collect data to determine whether the Dragon spacecraft can dock safely and move the Hubble telescope into a more stable orbit.
NASA officials also emphasized that the agreement with SpaceX focuses only on research sponsored by that company and is not related to NASA’s plans for future maintenance of the Hubble telescope.
The Hubble Telescope was launched into space in 1990 and operates in Earth’s orbit at an altitude of about 610 km, about 220 km higher than the orbital altitude of the International Space Station (ISS). This telescope recorded impressive images and opened the way to important discoveries such as the age of the universe or the new moons around Pluto,…
In the early 2000s, Hubble was serviced several times as part of the US Space Shuttle program. Since the program was shut down, astronomers have considered many different ways to maintain this old but still active telescope. However, so far no plans have been implemented.
Article source: VNA/News Journal
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The US Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is cooperating with SpaceX, billionaire Elon Musk’s space technology company, to increase the altitude of the telescope’s orbit…