Earlier Hubble Entries

3 July 2004: Hubble is not being held hostage, Sean O'Keefe, Toledo Blade

"The Blade accurately captured NASA's intent to "Keep Hubble alive" in its June 30 editorial, but that's about all it got right. The Hubble shuttle servicing mission was put on hold because it is doubtful we could mount such a shuttle mission that adheres to the recommendations of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. There are several technical requirements for such a mission that may not be complete and tested prior to the Hubble telescope going dark."

29 June 2004: Keep Hubble alive, Toledo Blade

"The Bush Administration caused an uproar in the scientific community in January when it announced that the observatory would be allowed to die because a manned space shuttle mission to service it would be too expensive, not to mention risky given the disaster that befell Columbia shuttle last year."

18 June 2004: Letter from Eugene Cernan to Sen. Hutchinson Regarding Hubble Space Telescope Servicing

"I am now better informed, am a little wiser on the subject, and today am retracting my support as expressed in the subject letter. I believe we all realize the significance of both the scientific results of and public interest in the Hubble. I also believe that if there is a way either manned or robotically, the Hubble will continue to be a serviceable asset without comprising the shuttle's primary mission of space station completion."

18 June 2004: Letter from Thomas Stafford to Sen. Hutchinson Regarding Hubble Space Telescope Servicing by NASA

"It is not necessary to send humans when a robotic mission can extend the useful life of the HST. By advocating an unmanned robotic mission to the HST, NASA has not only embraced the CAIB recommendations, but has taken a step to preclude undue risk. As an added benefit, the demonstration of such robotic capabilities will be important as NASA implements the vision for space exploration."

16 June 2004: NASA Solicitation: Dexterous Robot and Grapple Arm for HST Robotic Servicing and Deorbit MIssion (HRSDM)

"NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) intends to issue a sole source Request for Proposal (RFP) to MD Robotics for the development of a robotic grapple arm and a double-armed dexterous robot that would be needed to accomplish the hardware exchange during a potential spaceflight mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), called the HST Robotic Servicing and De-orbit Mission (HRSDM)."

1 June 2004: NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe's Remarks to the American Astronomical Society Annual Meeting

"An example of how we are combining the output of the Hubble, Chandra and Spitzer telescopes with ground based telescopes and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton to advance astronomical knowledge can be found in the work of the GOODs team, or Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey. Using this synergistic approach, the GOODs team today is announcing results that dramatically highlight our ability to learn much more about distant galaxies and quasars. We should all recognize that the ability to have coordinated observations of objects in space is a relatively new phenomenon. I salute the GOODs team for organizing this remarkable effort."

1 June 2004: NASA Considering Robotic Servicing Mission to Hubble Space Telescope

"NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe today announced the agency's decision to pursue the feasibility of a robotic servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). NASA initiated the first step toward enabling such a mission with the release of a Request for Proposals today. The due date for proposal submissions is July 16, 2004."

28 May 2004: Hutchison presses Bush to save Hubble telescope, Houston Chronicle

"The astronaut's petition calls the robotic option a waste of time and money, and claims it might not work. The former astronauts also argue that NASA already has spent about $250 million for new cameras and other equipment to upgrade Hubble, but it's unlikely a robot could accomplish all the repairs humans could. "We, the real risk-takers, believe the attendant risks of the Hubble servicing mission are no more than the 90 previous manned missions to similar orbits, and are justified by the Hubble Space Telescope's immense contributions to the space sciences," the astronauts wrote."

28 May 2004: Letter from Sen. Hutchinson to President Bush - Hubble Repair Petition from Former Astronauts

"We, the undersigned astronauts, respectfully petition you to direct the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Honorable Sean O'Keefe, to reinstate the Space Shuttle mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. Our reasons are as follows: ..."

12 May 2004: NASA Hubble Space Telescope Robotic Servicing/Deorbit Module Draft Solicitation, NASA GSFC

12 May 2004: NASA Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Robotic Vehicle Mission Level II/III Requirements Document - DRAFT, NASA GSFC

"This Contract End Item (CEI) Specification establishes the requirements for the design, performance, and verification of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Robotic Vehicle (HRV), which will be launched from an Expendable Launch Vehicle (ELV) and will Autonomously Rendezvous and Capture (AR&C) with the HST."

10 May 2004: NASA Weighs Robotic Mission To Aid Hubble, Washington Post

"Weiler said Goddard expects to decide by June 1 whether to formally request bids on a robotic mission. He said he did not know whether NASA would choose one contractor or several, run the project itself or seek a private-sector partner."

3 May 2004: NASA Presolicitation Notice: Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Deorbit Module, NASA GSFC

"NASA/GSFC plans to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE (HST) DEORBIT MODULE. This procurement is intended to be full and open and all responsible sources may submit an offer which shall be considered by the agency. The anticipated release date of the Final RFP is on or about 1 June 2004 with an anticipated offer due date of 21 July 2004."

Editor's note: Looks like the folks at GSFC have already made up their minds on Hubble's fate. As such I wonder why they went through the process of soliciting alternate solutions wherein the HST would be SAVED. Or is this a back-up capability in case none of the repair/upgrade solutions pan out?

Editor's note: Update: The following notice was issued to correct misimpressions generated by the earlier notice.

3 May 2004: NASA Presolicitation Notice: Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Robotic Servicing/Deorbit Module, NASA GSFC

"This posting supersedes the notice No. HST-DM-0001-GDJ entitled "HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE (HST) DEORBIT MODULE", which was posted on April 30, 3004. NASA/GSFC plans to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE (HST) ROBOTIC SERVICING/DEORBIT MODULE. The HST Robotic Servicing/Deorbit Module is only one part of an overall concept that could be used to extend the useful life of the observatory through various system hardware augmentations and then ultimately safely deorbit HST at the end of its mission. This concept is currently under review within NASA with decisions planned by the end of May."

29 April 2004: Rebuttal to Comments by the Houston Chronicle and Robert Zubrin Regarding NASA's Hubble Repair Options, Dennis Wingo, SpaceRef

"Mr. Cragg Hines, a reporter for the Houston Chronicle begins by calling the potential for a robotic servicing "a pipedream." He goes on to imply that any discussion by NASA of such a mission as a ruse to get an administrator who did not understand the public outcry at canceling Hubble to calm a political storm until after the election."

"My good friend Dr. Robert Zubrin chimes in as the scientist with sufficient gravitas to back up these assertions proclaiming that "no one outside of O'Keefe's direct orders agrees with him that such a robotic mission is possible". Well Bob I am not under O'Keefe's orders and I agree and attest that it is possible."

22 April 2004: Robotic Hubble Servicing Is Feasible, NASA Decides, Aviation Week

"We won't have to select and start funding contractors until after the Academy reports ... but we have to get the RFP ball rolling and proposals in to be evaluated so that when the academy report comes out, we will have the ability to take swift and determined action," Weiler said. "If we're going to do a robotic mission [in 2007-2008], we've got to get people under contract this fall."

30 March 2004: Months after NASA decision, Hubble debate still simmers, PBS Newshour

"Ideas on how to prolong Hubble's life, such as bringing the telescope into the same orbit as the International Space Station to facilitate its servicing, continue to pour into the message boards on NASA's Hubble Web site. "

27 March 2004: SRES 324 IS - Expressing the sense of the Senate relating to the extraordinary contributions resulting from the Hubble Space Telescope

"...strongly recommends that the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration appoint an independent panel of expert scientists and engineers inside and outside of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to examine all possible options for safely carrying out the planned servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope and assess alternative servicing methods; and..."

22 March 2004: Hubble debate a lot of sound and fury, MSNBC

"NASA Administrator Sean O Keefe recently released a lengthy defense of the rationale behind canceling the repair mission cancellation rationale, and even though it came out far too late, it deserves attention because it makes very good points that are too widely overlooked."

21 March 2004: Doomed Hubble's Fans Flood NASA With Ideas, Washington Post

"Not plausible so far, however, is the idea that the shuttle might somehow tow the telescope to the international space station for periodic servicing. This engineering exploit, a favorite on the Internet, would require a change in the inclination and height of Hubble's orbit. "It would take a tremendous amount of power to do that," [Hubble project manager Preston] Burch said in a telephone interview. "And if you bring it down to the space station, how do you get it back up?"

Editor's note: Oh C'mon Preston. Did you really say this? It would seem that your mind is already made up with regard to alternatives. No one is talking about using the Shuttle to do this. I guess you have never heard of robotic electric propulsion (among other things).

14 March 2004: NASA's Hubble Space Telescope: A Fate Far From Certain, SpaceRef

"Gehman passed on a chance to backup the core recommendations that the CAIB had made. Indeed, in addition to not answering the question asked of him, he punted on the issue and suggested that further study needed to be done noting "I suggest only a deep and rich study of the entire gain/risk equation can answer the question of whether an extension of the life of the wonderful Hubble telescope is worth the risks involved, and that is beyond the scope of this letter."

Curiously, the man whose panel pounded out the unrelenting mantra of 'prove that it's safe' now suggested in this first great test of the veracity of what the CAIB had recommended that NASA could go ahead and only 'do your best'."

14 March 2004: Hubble Future In Jeopardy, (transcript), 60 Minutes

"Ask any person the name of a playwright. Most of them would say Shakespeare," says Dr. Mario Livio. "Ask them the name of a scientist. Most of them would say Einstein. Ask the name of a telescope. They will all say Hubble."

14 March 2004: Commentary on Fox News by Brian Wilson

"I'll bet if you polled the astronaut corps there would be overwhelming support to fly this mission" "Mr. O'Keefe: Even if you no longer have the right stuff, our astronauts still do".

14 March 2004: Advancing Both Science and Safety, Op Ed, Sean O'Keefe, NY Times

"Accordingly, it may not make sense to devote time and energy to a mission to the Hubble - only to find that the safety actions and procedures required by the board could not be followed. This would place NASA in the untenable position of having to decide whether to undertake the Hubble mission without the required safety elements in place. This is precisely the type of "schedule pressure" that the board quite correctly cited as undermining the future safe operation of the shuttle."

13 March 2004: Astronomical Exaggerations, OpEd, NY Times

"Mr. O'Keefe's rationale has to do with the risks of servicing the Hubble in the aftermath of last year's Columbia disaster. The administrator is determined to put in place all of the safety-enhancing recommendations issued by the board that investigated the loss of that shuttle. That is as it should be, but proper caution need not mean paralysis."

12 March 2004: Analysis: Hubble's end not quite foregone, UPI

"My view is when someone is told they need major surgery, any prudent person would get a second opinion," Mikulski said in a statement. "That's what I told administrator O'Keefe and that's what he has agreed to do. Hubble has made so many extraordinary contributions to science, exploration and discovery. We cannot prematurely terminate the last servicing mission without a rigorous review."

12 March 2004: NASA Agrees to New Study on Mission to Telescope, NY Times

12 March 2004: Senators want NASA to rethink ending shuttle flights to Hubble, Orlando Sentinel

12 March 2004: O'Keefe to get second opinion before deciding Hubble's fate, Houston Chronicle

12 March 2004: Senators Ask NASA for Hubble Alternative, AP

11 March 2004: NASA Reviewer Calls for Further Study of Decision to Abandon Hubble Telescope, House Science Committee, Democratic Membership

11 March 2004: Mikulski Questions NASA Administrator on Decision to Cancel Hubble Servicing Mission

"I want to thank Administrator O'Keefe for agreeing to seek a second opinion. I also want to thank Admiral Gehman for his efforts. While he finds that a shuttle mission to Hubble is "slightly riskier" than a mission to the Space Station, he also notes that "only a deep and rich study of the entire gain/risk equation can answer the question of whether an extension of the life of the wonderful Hubble telescope is worth the risks involved." I wholeheartedly agree. That's why I am asking the National Academy of Sciences and General Accounting Office for further study and analysis," said Mikulski"

5 March 2004: Letter from Adm. Gehman to Senator Mikulski (PDF)

10 March 2004: Letter from Administrator O'Keefe to Sen. Barbara Milkulski (PDF)

11 March 2004: Letter from Sen. Bon and Sen. Mikulski (PDF)

11 March 2004: NASA White Paper: Cancellation of the Fifth (SM-4) Hubble Servicing Mission

"Recognizing the increased risks involved in all Shuttle flights following the tragic loss of the Columbia and crew NASA elected to reduce its planned Shuttle manifest to only missions to the International Space Station (ISS). The decision was also made, on the basis of risk, to not pursue a final servicing mission to the HST, but instead to investigate other options to extend the life of the Hubble."

10 March 2004: NASA Receives Gehman Letter on Hubble SM4 Decision

Editor's note: In hearings before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sean O'Keefe announced that NASA had received a response from CAIB Chair Hal Gehman who did a review of the SM4 mission cancellation. Gehman suggested that NASA seek additional outside advice. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) said that she would like to see the GAO do a study of the costs associated with the SM4 mission cancellation and have the National Academy of Sciences do a study of the overall risks and benefits of a servicing mission. O'Keefe said "we'd be delighted to get the Academy's views."

10 March 2004: NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report # 3566, STScI

Editor's note: After well over a decade of reporting the progress of HST observations in a dry, no nonsense technical format, these Hubble Daily Reports are now becoming increasingly political. First, there was the addition of the phrase "Continuing to collect World Class Science" in the title shortly after the cancellation of the SM4 mission. Now, with this specific report (go all the way to the bottom) these official reports are now being used to alert people to SM4 cancellation stories on CNN - in this case, using text from a Mars Society email alert reagrding "Hubble abandonment".

9 March 2004: Hubble Decision Featured on "360 with Anderson Cooper", CNN

Editor's note: According to the Mars Society "Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin, Space Telescope Science Institute Director Dr. Steve Beckwith, and NASA Administrator Mr. Sean O'Keefe will discuss the Hubble Space Telescope on CNN tonight. At issue is Mr. O'Keefe's controversial decision to desert the space telescope. Both Dr. Zubrin and Dr. Beckwith oppose Hubble abandonment."

Contrary to the Mars Society's totally misleading title for their email update announcing the CNN program i.e. "Zubrin, O'Keefe, Beckwith to Debate Hubble on CNN Tonight" there will be no "debate". O'Keefe recorded his interview with Miles O'Brien yesterday. Zubrin's and Beckwith's comments are taped as well. This segment airs at 7-8 PM EST. This segment will reportedly air again on Aaron Brown's show tonight at 10:00 PM EST

update: Well, it was hardly the 'debate' the Mars Society was advertising. Rather, O'Keefe got two 15 second sound bites, Zubrin got one - and used the phrase "moral cowardice" to describe O'Keefe's decision to cancel the SM4 mission.

Meanwhile there was a camera crew from "60 Minuites" at today's Hubble event. Word has it that a 60 Minutes segment on Hubble will air on Sunday 14 March. Sean O'Keefe and John Grunsfeld will be featured. Word has it that an interview was to be shot with Bob Zubrin as well. According to a NASA Watch reader: "The 60 Minutes crew was also at Ball Aerospace. They were talking to people involved in the construction of the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph and the Wide Field Camera 3, both of which were completed for SM4. They also shot some videotape of the instruments."

9 March 2004: NASA/ESA Hubble's Deepest View Ever of the Universe Unveils Earliest Galaxies

"Astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute today unveiled the deepest portrait of the visible universe ever achieved by humankind. Called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF), the million-second-long exposure reveals the first galaxies to emerge from the so-called "dark ages," the time shortly after the big bang when the first stars reheated the cold, dark universe. The new image should offer new insights into what types of objects reheated the universe long ago."

Editor's note: speaking at the unveiling of the image, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) said: "This is a stunning example of why the world loves Hubble - why I will continue to stand for Hubble. I will get the best minds to study the future of Hubble - for its future should not be decided by one man in a NASA back room - but by a transparent processs. I know a second opinion is due but I want you to know I will not stop there."

According to University of Arizona astronomer and NICMOS Principal Investigator Roger Thompson: "I am not sure why Sean O'Keefe made the decision this way. In his statement he said that he wanted the decision to fall on his shoulders alone. Most of the community would like to share that burden with him. We do not think this decision is final." Another source, requesting anonymity, said "we expect a Congressionally formed panel that will review O'Keefe's decision - why it was made in a closed way, and Gehman's letter as well. We expect that to be done in the next 30 days." Another source speaking anonymously said "We have only just begun to fight".

27 February 2004: An Open Letter and Request for Comments to the Mars Society Steering Committee

Editor's note: "I am doing research for an article on how the Mars Society views NASA's decision not to send a Shuttle Servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. As publicly identified members of the Mars Society's Steering Committee I would like to solicit your comments and thoughts regarding positions taken and statements made on behalf of the Mars Society by the Society's President Robert Zubrin and how they were arrived at."

Editor's update: It has been a week since I posted this. Only a few of the Steering Committee members have responded. Curiously, none of the 5 NASA civil servants listed as members of the Steering Committee have responded.

3 March 2004: Resolution Introduced in the House of Representatives to Establish an Independent Panel to Review NASA's Decision Regarding the Hubble Space Telescope

3 March 2004: Rep. Mark Udall Intorduces Resolution to Save Hubble Space Telescope, House Science Committee, Democratic Membership

"Reps. Todd Akin (R-MO), Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), Bart Gordon (D-TN), Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Nick Lampson (D-TX), Jim McDermott (D-WA), and C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) joined Rep. Udall as original cosponsors."

3 March 2004: Remarks of Rep Mark Udall upon introduction of a Resolution Recognizing the Hubble Space Telescope's Accomplishments

"My goal in introducing this resolution is simple - I want to call attention to the Hubble Space Telescope's contributions to scientific research and education and ensure that any decision affecting its future is made carefully and seriously and for the right reasons. Precisely because of Hubble's extraordinary contributions in the past and promised contributions in the future, I also believe it is important that the decision to cancel the planned servicing mission to Hubble is considered by an independent panel of experts."

3 March 2004: Please Save Hubble! Letters to President Bush

"Two astronomers and a computer scientist have begun a letter writing campaign to save the Hubble Space Telescope. The website, http://savehubble.org hopes to demonstrate to President Bush and NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe that the public supports the Hubble Space Telescope and does not want it to end prematurely."

29 February 2004: Premature Death for the Hubble, Anonymous OpEd, NY Times

"The real safety issue comes up if something goes wrong. A shuttle near the station might find safe haven and help in repairs. A shuttle near Hubble could not. Our guess is that with NASA on high alert after the Columbia tragedy, the next shuttle flights will be the safest ever. Astronauts are paid to take risks, and there would be no shortage of volunteers for a Hubble mission that seems no more risky than other flights and a lot more important scientifically."

Editor's note: It would seem that you have answered your own concerns - and the answer is hiding in plain sight in your OpEd: "A shuttle near the station might find safe haven and help in repairs. A shuttle near Hubble could not." Oh yes - NASA is not exactly abandoning the Hubble. Why is it that Shuttle missions are the only solution people are willing to contemplate? Tsk tsk. Such narrow thinking.

29 February 2004: Huntsville man's plan features a rescue tug, Huntsville Times

"... But Dennis Wingo, who runs Skycorp Inc. in Huntsville and is the chief technical officer of Orbital Recovery Corp., plans to send NASA managers information on how the Hubble could be saved, he said Thursday. "What we are proposing is to use a system that is powered by ion thrusters that would go and pick up the Hubble and then bring it back to the International Space Station orbit," Wingo said. "From there, NASA could service the Hubble with a shuttle or maybe from the space station."

21 February 2004: NASA Request for Information: Hubble Space Telescope End of Mission Alternatives, NASA GSFC

"The objective of this RFI is: 1) to invite industry to submit information that will allow NASA to assess various design alternatives while formulating its detailed requirements for the re-entry or orbit boost mission; 2) to invite alternative mission concepts by which NASA may more fully accomplish its goal of maximizing HST science productivity; e.g., life extension approaches and techniques, with or without robotic servicing (which might simultaneously further objectives of NASA's new Exploration initiative); 3) to improve NASA's knowledge of industry's capability; and 4) to improve the overall understanding of current HST de-orbit or orbit boost mission plans."

Hubble Space Telescope: End of Mission Alternatives Dataset, NASA GSFC

21 February 2004: NASA Request for Information: Hubble Space Telescope End of Mission Alternatives, NASA GSFC

"The objective of this RFI is: 1) to invite industry to submit information that will allow NASA to assess various design alternatives while formulating its detailed requirements for the re-entry or orbit boost mission; 2) to invite alternative mission concepts by which NASA may more fully accomplish its goal of maximizing HST science productivity; e.g., life extension approaches and techniques, with or without robotic servicing (which might simultaneously further objectives of NASA's new Exploration initiative); 3) to improve NASA's knowledge of industry's capability; and 4) to improve the overall understanding of current HST de-orbit or orbit boost mission plans."

Hubble Space Telescope: End of Mission Alternatives Dataset, NASA GSFC

18 February 2004: NASA Responds to Hubble Criticism, SpaceRef

Editor's note: "A number of editorials have appeared online in recent weeks regarding NASA's decision to not send a Shuttle mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. Despite a number of replies NASA has sent in response to the OpEds, none of the letters seems to have been published online. Some of these replies are published below with links to the original opinion pieces."

10 February 2004: Astronomy Community Disputes NASA's Hubble Plans, SpaceRef

"Not everyone is happy with NASA's decision to cancel a Space Shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope."

10 February 2004: Nasa says 'no' to Hubble reprieve, BBC

"During a news conference, Weiller, along with Bill Readdy, head of space flight at Nasa, and John Grunsfeld, the agency's chief scientist, expressed regret at the expected end of the Hubble project."

Editor's note: Gee, I don't recall hearing David Whitehouse's name among the participants in the teleconference that I and other reporters participated in. Nor do I see his email address listed among all of those sent the formal notification for that event. Yet he quotes freely from what was said during that teleconference. Curious.

9 February 2004: Reader's comments on Hubble SM4 Shuttle mission cancellation

"As a student who has dreamed of spaceflight for years, I'm in tears over the decision to abandon the Hubble to a slow death before its time. Astronauts and manned missions are flashy and exciting, but it's the beauty of the images that Hubble returns that ignites a true and long-lasting love affair with the stars.Without the Hubble images of M16 and M27 to remind me why I'm putting myself through the difficulty of studying astrophysics, I would not have made it to graduation."

- A heartbroken dreamer

8 February 2004: Anonymous Documents Describe Shuttle Hubble Mission Risks, SpaceRef

Editor's note: Don't worry folks. I am not about to start revealing my sources after all these years. These two documents were all over the place before I ever got copies - and each of the several totally unrelated modes whereby I got copies all had the same 'wsmith' on them. No attempt was made to obscure where they came from. I have not revealed the sources that sent me these documents. Had the original author provided me these documents instead of tossing them to the wind - or had others not allowed versions that spent time on their computers to circulate - I would, of course, have kept the source anonymous.

6 February 2004: Engineer's Papers Dispute Hubble Decision, NY Times

"NASA's decision to abandon its crown scientific jewel, the Hubble Space Telescope, cannot be justified on safety grounds, according to a pair of reports by a NASA engineer that have been circulating in scientific and political circles in the last few days."

31 January 2004: Mikulski addresses Hubble's work force - Telescope's fate unknown as decision is reviewed, Baltimore Sun

"A longtime supporter of NASA, Mikulski said Hubble should be saved because of its scientific value, not just because it means hundreds of jobs at the institute on the Johns Hopkins University campus and at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt. She referred to the work force as a "genius club" and reminded them of Hubble's accomplishments."

31 January 2004: Scientists Clamor to Save Hubble, Wired

"What's happening is that a bunch of bureaucrats are wanting to feel decisive, to show they can make the tough calls to support the president's moon and Mars program. They'll say: 'Much as it might rend our hearts, we're willing to give this up.' That's all a crock," [Mars Society President Robert] Zubrin said. "If the first thing this new space policy does is murder Hubble, then it's born with the mark of Cain on it."

Editor's note: Gee, I can't think of a better way to make the people formulating space policy not want to listen to you or anyone from your organization, Bob. Keep it up.

"Space policy analyst John Pike of GlobalSecurity.org sees dark motivations behind the move. He argues that President Bush has made clear what will be abandoned in the short term, but has scheduled non-military missions like colonizing Mars far over the political horizon so that succeeding administrations can cancel them without controversy. "I think it is sort of symptomatic of this administration's orderly dismantling of the American space program," he said."

Editor's note: Yikes! This passage from John Pike borders on conspiracy mongering. It is also just plain goofy: how he can equate a move by President Bush to increase NASA's budget and create a new ability to send humans back to the Moon and the moon to Mars with the "orderly dismantling of the American space program" utterly escapes me.

29 January 2004: Hubble may get reprieve, AP

"Adm. Hal Gehman, chairman of the board that investigated the Columbia shuttle breakup last year, will "review the (Hubble) matter and offer his unique perspective," NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe said in a letter to Mikulski, who released a copy of the letter."

29 January 2004: Shuttle Investigator Will Review Hubble Decision, NY Times

"The head of the board that investigated the Columbia space shuttle disaster has agreed to examine NASA's decision to cancel any missions to extend the life of the Hubble Space Telescope, agency officials said on Thursday."

26 January 2004: Hubble's End - or a New Beginning? SpaceRef

"Recently Sean O'Keefe decided not to proceed with the last scheduled Space Shuttle Servicing Mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. Yet, in this decision not to use the Shuttle to extend Hubble's life, is there not the seed of another approach?"

22 January 2004: Servicing Mission 4 Cancelled, Space Telescope Science Institute

"[O'Keefe] said several times that money was not a factor in the decision, and it was not about safety alone. Clearly, both money and safety were considerations. My distillation of the reasoning boils down to the following logic:"

Visit SaveTheHubble.org to sign an online petition to Congress.

20 August 2003: Space Tug to NASA's Hubble Space Telescope's Rescue?, Orbital Recovery Corporation

"Orbital Recovery Corporation (ORC) is developing a Spacecraft Life Extension System or SLES for the life extension of GEO orbiting spacecraft. It has occurred to us that this system could be used for HST life extension as well."

20 January 2004: NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report # 3533, STSCI

Editor's note: After being distributed online for more than a decade this report suddenly added the phrase "- Continuing to collect World Class Science" to the top of this report this week just after the cancellation of the SM4 Hubble Servicing mission was revealed.

25 November 2003: Orbital Recovery Ltd. Teams With Holland's Dutch Space To Develop Space Tug for Telecommunications Satellite Servicing (Includes hardware illustrations)

"The first flight of ConeXpress ORS is targeted for 2007, and Orbital Recovery Ltd. anticipates the market requirement for several commercial missions of the space tug each year."

20 August 2003: Space Tug to NASA's Hubble Space Telescope's Rescue?, Orbital Recovery

"Orbital Recovery Corporation (ORC) is developing a Spacecraft Life Extension System or SLES for the life extension of GEO orbiting spacecraft. It has occurred to us that this system could be used for HST life extension as well."

Editor's note: Why is NASA considering its own $300 million solution when the private sector (seemingly) has a cheaper way to reboost/deboost Hubble? It would seem that the provisions of the Commercial Space Act of 1998 would steer NASA towards a commercial solution rather than develop its own approach in-house.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on August 1, 2004 12:15 PM.

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