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NASA to explore saving Hubble with SpaceX Dragon spacecraft

The US space agency NASA has announced an agreement with SpaceX. As part of this agreement, the possibility of launching the Hubble telescope into a higher orbit using the Dragon spacecraft will be explored. The Hubble Telescope was launched in 1990 using the Space Shuttle, and it served the space observatory until 2011, when the use of the shuttles was discontinued. After that, there was nothing to serve Hubble, as a result, the telescope’s orbit gradually decreases as it slows down on the atmosphere. So, now the observatory is operating at an altitude of 540 km compared to the original 610 km. If the telescope is not lifted with a powered ship, it will gradually de-orbit, it is assumed that this will happen in about 15 years.

According to NASA, the agency is working with SpaceX and Polaris to explore the possibility of serving Hubble with Dragon spacecraft. The study is expected to take approximately 6 months. The idea was submitted by Elon Musk’s company, the study will help to better understand the technical problems associated with maintaining the telescope. NASA also notes that if such a mission is implemented, it will become commercial, at no cost to the government. If it is possible to lift Hubble into a higher orbit, then its service life will increase by several years. After that time, NASA plans to safely deorbit the telescope or dispose of it. The agency said the study is not exclusive and other companies may offer similar programs using their spacecraft.

NASA to explore saving Hubble with SpaceX Dragon spacecraft
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