WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and SpaceX signed an unfunded House Act Settlement Thursday, Sept. 22, to review the feasibility of a SpaceX and Polaris Program concept to spice up the company’s Hubble House Telescope into a better orbit with the Dragon spacecraft, without charge to the federal government.
There aren’t any plans for NASA to conduct or fund a servicing mission or compete this chance; the examine is designed to assist the company perceive the industrial potentialities.
SpaceX – in partnership with the Polaris Program – proposed this examine to higher perceive the technical challenges related to servicing missions. This examine is non-exclusive, and different firms could suggest comparable research with completely different rockets or spacecraft as their mannequin.
Groups count on the examine to take as much as six months, gathering technical information from each Hubble and the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. This information will assist decide whether or not it might be potential to soundly rendezvous, dock, and transfer the telescope right into a extra steady orbit.
“This examine is an thrilling instance of the progressive approaches NASA is exploring by private-public partnerships,” mentioned Thomas Zurbuchen, affiliate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “As our fleet grows, we wish to discover a variety of alternatives to assist probably the most sturdy, superlative science missions potential.”
Whereas Hubble and Dragon will function check fashions for this examine, parts of the mission idea could also be relevant to different spacecraft, significantly these in near-Earth orbit like Hubble.
Hubble has been working since 1990, about 335 miles above Earth in an orbit that’s slowly decaying over time. Reboosting Hubble into a better, extra steady orbit may add a number of years of operations to its life.
On the finish of its lifetime, NASA plans to soundly de-orbit or eliminate Hubble.
“SpaceX and the Polaris Program wish to broaden the boundaries of present know-how and discover how industrial partnerships can creatively remedy difficult, complicated issues,” mentioned Jessica Jensen, vice chairman of Buyer Operations & Integration at SpaceX. “Missions corresponding to servicing Hubble would assist us broaden house capabilities to in the end assist all of us obtain our objectives of turning into a space-faring, multiplanetary civilization.”
The Hubble House Telescope is a challenge of worldwide cooperation between NASA and ESA (European House Company). NASA’s Goddard House Flight Heart in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The House Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Affiliation of Universities for Analysis in Astronomy in Washington.
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