Hubble Rescued

NASA announced plans today to return to the Hubble Space Telescope in 2008 (the fifth servicing mission thus far) to replace the observatory’s gyroscopes and batteries, install two new instruments: the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) and Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), and attempt to repair the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) which has been offline for two years.

The servicing mission should extend Hubble’s orbital lifetime to at least 2013, by which time Nasa will be getting close to launching a successor: the James Webb Space Telescope.

Dr Griffin’s decision reverses that of his predecessor, Sean O’Keefe, who cancelled the planned visit in the wake of the Columbia shuttle disaster in 2003.

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