SpaceX wants to give Hubble a boost as it is slowly falling.

Together, NASA and SpaceX will investigate the possibility of using the private business to raise the space telescope to a higher orbit.

Although the 32-year-old Hubble Space Telescope is not anticipated to disappear from view any time soon, it is gradually dropping height due to regular atmospheric drag. And by the mid- to late 2030s, it may have dropped sufficiently to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere.

However, perhaps someone or something could assist in helping it return to its original height of 373 miles. Through a joint study they started this week, NASA and Elon Musk’s SpaceX are investigating that concept.

As of right now, the space agency and the private sector are merely analysing the feasibility of working together to lift Hubble to a more stable orbit. Scientists will study whether SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft might lift Hubble’s orbit and possibly dock with the telescope during the six-month probe to see if they can extend the telescope’s life. They’ll also consider if it makes practical to send a crew aboard the seven-person Dragon to assist in maintaining the deteriorating observatory.

Hubble Is Slowly Falling However SpaceX has a Desire Give It a Boost

The larger and more potent James Webb Space Telescope was launched in December by NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency. But the original space telescope is still taking detailed pictures of the universe and giving astronomers important knowledge. So it makes sense that NASA would like to prolong it.

At a press conference last week, Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, stated, “It’s totally acceptable for us to look at this because of the immense importance this research asset provides for us, as well as others.” We constantly consider strange ideas because that’s what we’re supposed to do.

According to a NASA statement, the investigation won’t cost the government any money. Furthermore, the space agency emphasised that no plans exist to “perform or fund a servicing trip or complete this possibility; the study is aimed to help the agency understand the economic prospects.” Additionally, NASA noted that the study was not exclusive and that other for-profit organisations might make a similar argument with their own rockets or spacecraft.

Hubble Is Slowly Falling However SpaceX has a Desire Give It a Boost

The massive telescope, which bears the name Edwin Hubble, was put into orbit on April 24, 1990, thanks to the space shuttle Discovery. NASA reports that Hubble has made 1.5 million observations of planets, galaxies, far-off stars, and many other celestial bodies in the more than 30 years since that time. The Hubble Space Telescope’s perspective is generally free from obstructions like light pollution and rain showers because it orbits above the Earth’s atmosphere.

Five different visits by astronauts have been made to the telescope to replace and upgrade its components, make repairs, and raise it to higher heights. In 2009, the space shuttle Atlantis made its most recent trip to the telescope, raising Hubble to a 350-mile altitude. The observatory in orbit has descended by nearly 20 miles since that time.

However, NASA ended its space shuttle programme in 2011. The space agency has hired private businesses like SpaceX to transport crews and supplies instead of doing it themselves. Since 2012, SpaceX has been delivering cargo to the International Space Station (ISS); in 2020, the corporation started delivering astronauts to the ISS. Additionally recently, Boeing successfully conducted its first cargo delivery flight to the ISS.

Therefore, it makes natural that NASA might also think about working with commercial enterprises to meet Hubble’s needs.

According to Jessica Jensen, vice president of customer operations and integration at SpaceX, “what we want to do is exceed the bounds of present technology,” she tells Kenneth Chang of the New York Times. “We want to demonstrate how we creatively approach difficult and complicated challenge missions like servicing Hubble by utilising business collaborations as well as public-private partnerships.”

Hubble Is Slowly Falling However SpaceX has a Desire Give It a Boost

Any upcoming private mission to Hubble might be a component of Polaris, a crewed spaceflight programme that SpaceX is managing for space tycoon Jared Isaacman.

In September of last year, Isaacman, the CEO of the payment platform Shift4, commissioned SpaceX to fly him and three friends on a three-day tour around the planet. Since then, Isaacman has disclosed intentions for up to three additional private space missions with SpaceX through his envisioned Polaris programme. One of the Polaris missions would be a potential candidate for a visit to Hubble, according to Isaacman.

According to Gizmodo, Isaacman stated during the press conference that “if the investigation takes us down a route where a mission is viable, this would surely fit within the boundaries we established for the Polaris programme.”

Leave a Comment