Rejuvenating observatory: green light given for space telescope repairs.After 3 years of uncertainty following the Columbia disaster, NASA NASA: see National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
in full National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Independent U.S. this week gave the go-ahead for a shuttle mission to carry astronauts to refurbish the 16-year-old Hubble Space Telescope Hubble Space Telescope (HST), the first large optical orbiting observatory. Built from 1978 to 1990 at a cost of $1.5 billion, the HST (named for astronomer E. P. Hubble) was expected to provide the clearest view yet obtained of the universe. and to install new detectors that would vastly improve its capabilities.
"This is fantastic news," says Matt Mountain, director of the Space Telescope Science Institute The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) is the science operations center for the Hubble Space Telescope (HST; in orbit since 1990) and for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST; scheduled to be launched in 2013). in Baltimore. "We're getting a completely new telescope."
The shuttle flight, scheduled for mid-2008, would endow Hubble with the most sensitive ultraviolet spectrograph ever flown. The device is designed to trace the distribution of galaxies and intergalactic in·ter·ga·lac·tic
Being or occurring between galaxies: intergalactic space.
in gas. The crew would also install an infrared camera to record galaxies even more distant than the ones Hubble can now image.
The crew would also revitalize the system for pointing the telescope, replace all six gyroscopes, and attempt to repair an imaging spectrograph that stopped working in 2004. NASA estimates that the $900 million mission would add 5 years to Hubble's life, extending it until 2013.
NASA Administrator Michael Griffin Michael Griffin can refer to: