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Sunday, January 18, 2004


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California Yankee

NASA's "relatively short notice" is probably too long to save the Hubble. The only real chance to save the Hubble is a shuttle mission. If the Hubble servicing mission now requires a second shuttle being ready to launch the mission should still be flown.


I agree that I am troubled by the apparent abandonment of Hubble. I don't know the extent to which the explanation given by NASA of the safety of the shuttle and reducing the risk to astronauts can be accepted at face value. Seems suspicious to me. This is just another in a long list of reasons why we need to develop vehicles (effectively a space tug and similar vehicles) that would operate only in space to maintain satellites like Hubble and assist in space construction like ISS, any eventual stations that will be placed at the L1 through L5 and, of course, vehicles that will travel to the Moon and Mars. It seems to me a crude vehicle could be developed on relatively short notice, and shot into orbit (perhaps in pieces) on expendable vehicles and assembled. ISS could serve as a base of operations and from there it could reach the Hubble and perform some or all of the necessary repairs and upgrades. This wouldn't be a throw away vehicle -- we would refuel it after missions and use it again. We need to take the need to develop a "space faring" capability seriously and this seems like a worthy place to start.


What a waste is right. NASA is sounding like the General Motors of the 1980s, once you work the bugs out of an item you abandon it, like the Pontiac Fiero, Caddilac Allante, Buick Reatta and many more.

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