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Thread: Hubble end of life

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    Hubble end of life

    I know the Hubble space telescope has performed well past it expected life but itís still doing valuable work. Itís my understanding that NASA is going to abandon it or bring it down. Wouldnít it make sense for SpaceX or someone to go up there, hook on a booster and move it to a low orbit near ISS? Are the optics still good?

    Why was Hubble placed in a higher orbit? Debris maybe?

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    They wanted to get info from higher up and it was approved by the guys higher up. And the insurance company wanted to make sure it
    burned up coming down instead of landing in a busy intersection.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Feeley View Post
    I know the Hubble space telescope has performed well past it expected life but itís still doing valuable work. Itís my understanding that NASA is going to abandon it or bring it down. Wouldnít it make sense for SpaceX or someone to go up there, hook on a booster and move it to a low orbit near ISS? Are the optics still good?
    No plans to decommission it, according to NASA:
    https://www.newsweek.com/hubble-rema...launch-1661707
    There have been some recent computer glitches but they have largely been worked out. The optics are still fine, AFAIK, and it operates in portions of the spectrum that Webb can't "see".

    I don't know the actual delta-V involved. but moving it to a radically new orbit probably involves loads the structure simply isn't designed to handle. Plus "hook on a booster" isn't exactly a "toss it in the back of the truck and tie it down" operation. Remember, it got there in the cargo bay of the shuttle, resting on a cradle that probably cost more than some countries' GDP.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee DeRaud View Post
    No plans to decommission it, according to NASA:
    https://www.newsweek.com/hubble-rema...launch-1661707
    There have been some recent computer glitches but they have largely been worked out. The optics are still fine, AFAIK, and it operates in portions of the spectrum that Webb can't "see".

    I don't know the actual delta-V involved. but moving it to a radically new orbit probably involves loads the structure simply isn't designed to handle. Plus "hook on a booster" isn't exactly a "toss it in the back of the truck and tie it down" operation. Remember, it got there in the cargo bay of the shuttle, resting on a cradle that probably cost more than some countries' GDP.
    I would agree, Lee, if they were to use a traditional rocket thruster. But what about an ion thruster that would deliver the same result but over a very long time?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Feeley View Post
    I would agree, Lee, if they were to use a traditional rocket thruster. But what about an ion thruster that would deliver the same result but over a very long time?
    Depends on your definition of "very long", given that the device will be out of service for the duration. Months? Years? It's not just a question of altitude: the ISS and Hubble have radically different orbital inclinations.

    In any case, I'm not sure what having it close to the ISS accomplishes beyond making all concerned very nervous.
    Yoga class makes me feel like a total stud, mostly because I'm about as flexible as a 2x4.
    "Design"? Possibly. "Intelligent"? Sure doesn't look like it from this angle.
    We used to be hunter gatherers. Now we're shopper borrowers.
    The three most important words in the English language: "Front Towards Enemy".
    The world makes a lot more sense when you remember that Butthead was the smart one.
    You can never be too rich, too thin, or have too much ammo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee DeRaud View Post
    Depends on your definition of "very long", given that the device will be out of service for the duration. Months? Years? It's not just a question of altitude: the ISS and Hubble have radically different orbital inclinations.

    In any case, I'm not sure what having it close to the ISS accomplishes beyond making all concerned very nervous.
    Close proximity makes it repairable. Without the shuttle, we donít have the means to visit it. But maybe a robotic mission to bring it down to a lower orbit is possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Feeley View Post
    Close proximity makes it repairable. Without the shuttle, we donít have the means to visit it. But maybe a robotic mission to bring it down to a lower orbit is possible.
    The problem is, "orbiting at the same altitude" and "close proximity" are not remotely the same thing: there's also a 20+ degree difference in orbital inclination to deal with. I'm pretty sure we have (or will soon have) the capability to visit it, but it would be vastly easier to launch a mission from Earth into the current Hubble orbit than to transition from the ISS orbit.

    Actually ISS and Hubble already get relatively close (~100 miles) on occasion*, but the relative velocity at those times is something in the 1-2 miles/second range.
    (*Much hand-waving...no, I have no idea how often. There's about a 100 mile altitude difference, and each crosses the other's orbit every 45 minutes or so. But the math for when the crossings sync up is profoundly ugly.)
    Yoga class makes me feel like a total stud, mostly because I'm about as flexible as a 2x4.
    "Design"? Possibly. "Intelligent"? Sure doesn't look like it from this angle.
    We used to be hunter gatherers. Now we're shopper borrowers.
    The three most important words in the English language: "Front Towards Enemy".
    The world makes a lot more sense when you remember that Butthead was the smart one.
    You can never be too rich, too thin, or have too much ammo.

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    Thanks to all. I knew I could get a dose of reality for my, ďWhy donít they justÖĒ question. My daughter is a lawyer at the Office of Legal Council and my sil is a VP at the CATO Institute. I ask them hair-brained questions all the time. My perspective is always about justice and unencumbered by such trifles as law.

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    I remember when NASA realized that the optics in Hubble were ground wrong. I wonder if they even want it back. My guess is they will keep using it as long as it's operational. I'm sure the new Webb telescope is booked up for the next 10 years already.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Zeller View Post
    I remember when NASA realized that the optics in Hubble were ground wrong. I wonder if they even want it back. My guess is they will keep using it as long as it's operational. I'm sure the new Webb telescope is booked up for the next 10 years already.
    Maybe this will help: https://www.jwst.nasa.gov/content/ab...bVsHubble.html

    This is the other reason that Webb is not a replacement for Hubble; its capabilities are not identical. Webb will primarily look at the Universe in the infrared, while Hubble studies it primarily at optical and ultraviolet wavelengths (though it has some infrared capability)
    Yoga class makes me feel like a total stud, mostly because I'm about as flexible as a 2x4.
    "Design"? Possibly. "Intelligent"? Sure doesn't look like it from this angle.
    We used to be hunter gatherers. Now we're shopper borrowers.
    The three most important words in the English language: "Front Towards Enemy".
    The world makes a lot more sense when you remember that Butthead was the smart one.
    You can never be too rich, too thin, or have too much ammo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Feeley View Post
    I know the Hubble space telescope has performed well past it expected life but itís still doing valuable work. Itís my understanding that NASA is going to abandon it or bring it down. Wouldnít it make sense for SpaceX or someone to go up there, hook on a booster and move it to a low orbit near ISS? Are the optics still good?

    Why was Hubble placed in a higher orbit? Debris maybe?
    I'll take it! I'll add it to the junk pile and figure out what to do with it some day. I wonder how I would arrange for delivery?

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    What Lee said.

    on the other hand, there have been big improvements in earthbound telescopes. I think Hubble still has the upper ground but the difference isnít what it once was. As far as I know,Hubble is still booked solid.

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    The problem with bringing Hubble down is the mirror. That is one big piece of glass. I can imagine it skipping all over the place coming down. Like a frizby.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Schuch View Post
    I'll take it! ... I wonder how I would arrange for delivery?
    NORAD and USSTRATCOM specialize in this type of targe... ahh, delivery. I'd recommend a short vacation on delivery day.

    And double-check your homeowner's policy.

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