Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hubble repair mission is a go!

Woo hoo!!

It's scheduled for May 2008. As discussed previously, the repairs will keep it operating until the James Webb telescope comes on line in 2013.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Marc Schneider said...

Re your previous post on this, as a long time space buff, it troubles me that NASA has reached the point where it spends most of its time worrying about whether the shuttle will get home rather than on achieving its mission. The reasons are understandable and obvious, but if all we are able to do is go up and come down, what's the point--we did that in 1962. If there is any reason for the space shuttle to exist, this is it--to enhance the ability of humans to explore the universe. If the space shuttle is so unsafe or we have become so risk averse that we are afraid to do anything with the least bit of risk, I say ground it now and wait until we have something better.

10/31/2006 3:45 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

Oh, agreed. Space flight will always be more dangerous than most other ventures, so part of the question should be a cost/benefit analysis of the risk versus what we're expecting them to accomplish. But it's way past time for a truly modern space plane to be in the works. And if the shuttles become too dangerous to fly, they should, indeed, be grounded.

The next low-orbit shuttle probably will be a hybrid vehicle that uses a scramjet to reach high altitudes and high speeds like an ultrafast conventional plane, and then a rocket assist to achieve orbit.

10/31/2006 4:59 PM  
Anonymous Marc Schneider said...

NASA accepted a basically unsafe design for the space shuttle system because it wanted to design a ship that it could sell to Congress as being cost effective. As it turned out, the shuttle hasn't been cost effective and is not particularly safe (and, at this point, relies on outdated technology). Part of this, I think, was due to the fact that the success of the Apollo missions (other than Apollo 13) convinced NASA that it could make anything work. I assume it will take a more prudent approach to the next system. But, as you say, human space flight will likely always be pretty dangerous, so we are going to have to decide if we are willing to accept some risk and loss of life; other wise, I can't see how we can realistically expect to explore the galaxy with people.

11/01/2006 10:00 AM  

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