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mutant
2003-Aug-11, 03:43 PM
I have read in several sources lately that the Hubble is scheduled to be terminated sometime around 2010. NASA says that they cant afford to keep the HST going while funding other projects like the James Webb space telescope. NASA has agreed to fund one last servicing mission for the HST in 2005.
As I understand it the James Webb space telescope is still on the drawing board and will be used mainly for infrared imaging and spectroscopy.
Does anyone have the same fears that I do?-------those fears being that politics and beaurocracy may delay any replacement for the HST or in fact may leave us without one?
Considering all the exciting discoveries and the productivity of the HST I would hate to end up without any orbital scope at all.
I thought I would just pose this question as I am sure there are many in here who have much more info on this than I do and would like to hear others opinions.

ToSeek
2003-Aug-11, 03:51 PM
The JWST is past the drawing board stage: contracts have been awarded, funding has been allocated, etc. Obviously, it could still be cancelled, but my biggest worry would be that the mission to put it into position would fail. If Hubble has already been taken down, then that would indeed leave us without a major optical telescope in orbit. It's been suggested by others on this board that Hubble be left up at least until it's verified that JWST is operational.

JWST home page: http://jwst.gsfc.nasa.gov/

Sever
2003-Aug-11, 04:34 PM
Why not just seel Hubble on Ebay? Stranger things have been up there, like a russian patrol boat and "juilet" class submarine.

TinFoilHat
2003-Aug-11, 05:14 PM
Why not just seel Hubble on Ebay?
"Telescope for sale. USed but works. Buyer responsible for shipping."

Doodler
2003-Aug-11, 05:35 PM
The problem is that one way or another the Hubble has to be removed. If its decommissioned and left of station it will eventually be a hazard when it re-enters uncontrollably. Launching a shuttle is a waste of money to retrieve it, it has no intrinsic value back here on Earth except as a dust collector. Better to let it go and be done with it. Sentimentality is not going to help a space program that needs to learn to operate on a budget. The Hubble is a device, an effective device, but a device nonetheless. It will have served its time and will have been superceded by a superior device with greater capability. The fact that it has outperformed its limitations and flaws is an aside to the fact that it is on the verge of obsolescence. I cannot fathom this implulse people have to monumentalize everything in sight. We have millions of bits of information that serve as a reminder of what the telescope accomplished, if the museums need eye candy, slap together a mock up. Money spent on a decommissioning flight of the shuttle could finance the P-K Express mission with change left over. Money MUCH better spent.

ToSeek
2003-Aug-11, 05:51 PM
Much as I would like to see HST on display at the Smithsonian, I can't see spending $700 million (or whatever it would take) to put it there. As Doodler points out, you could finance the mission to Pluto (or a couple of missions to Mars) for that kind of money.

Glom
2003-Aug-11, 06:42 PM
Does this situation seem familiar?

NASA terminated all its Apollo hardware anticipating the arrival of the Space Shuttle. We all know what we think of that.

Now, NASA is planning to terminate HST anticipating the arrival of JWST.

Doodler
2003-Aug-11, 09:33 PM
Interesting comparison, but the new telescope isn't a revolution in design. Its more advanced, but its built on established principles, where the shuttle was a completely new ballgame. If course, having said that I think back on the optics problems of the Hubble. I don't see a problem overlapping the two until the new scope is on station and operational, my point is that when it comes time to decommission the Hubble, its not worth the trouble to recover it.

BigJim
2003-Aug-11, 09:35 PM
My thoughts:

HST should not be deorbited or decommisioned until JWST is on-orbit and working.

HST could be recovered after a Shuttle mission has achieved another objective - possibly even deploying the JWST. A whole mission doesn't have to be devoted to it.

Glom
2003-Aug-11, 09:38 PM
Since JWST is supposed to go to L2, would they really use the Space Shuttle to deploy it? It would be cheaper and better to an unmanned ELV.

BigJim
2003-Aug-11, 09:41 PM
It would also be cheaper and better to use unmanned launch vehicles to launch ISS components. But that doesn't stop NASA from using the STS.

mike alexander
2003-Aug-11, 11:19 PM
Obsolescence can have several meanings, but in the case of the Hubble does 'obsolescent' mean 'useless'? The question seems to me to be 'is it worth the cost to keep it running?' And I have no idea.

I do agree that recovery for the sake of an artifact is a waste of money...if that money would be better used elsewhere. There is no evidence of that.

ToSeek
2003-Aug-11, 11:28 PM
Since JWST is supposed to go to L2, would they really use the Space Shuttle to deploy it? It would be cheaper and better to an unmanned ELV.

The current plan is to use the Ariane 5. I would think the post-Challenger odds of using the shuttle for an activity that doesn't require human involvement (specifically, ISS missions or Hubble servicing) is zero.

BigJim
2003-Aug-11, 11:38 PM
There was a flight a few years back whose primary achievement was to kill two dozen rats using a special spring-loaded guillotine. That's $25 million per rat.

russ_watters
2003-Aug-12, 06:22 AM
Why not just seel Hubble on Ebay? Stranger things have been up there, like a russian patrol boat and "juilet" class submarine. Am I the only one who saw that? Can you elaborate?
It would also be cheaper and better to use unmanned launch vehicles to launch ISS components. But that doesn't stop NASA from using the STS.
The current plan is to use the Ariane 5. I would think the post-Challenger odds of using the shuttle for an activity that doesn't require human involvement (specifically, ISS missions or Hubble servicing) is zero. AFAIK, the shuttle still has the largest cargo carrying capacity of any vehicle in service. So its not just about human involvement.

Anyone remember the shuttle-C? I saw a full-scale mockup at space camp (the rocket center) in Huntsville. It was supposed to be a disposable cargo-only shuttle. No crew and no wings meant twice the capacity.

In the next hanger over was a mockup of parts of "space station freedom." An early iteration of the now ISS. That was 1989. I wonder if I still have the pics.

Colt
2003-Aug-12, 10:22 AM
Here you go, Shuttle-C (http://www.orbit6.com/rockets/shuttlec.htm).

What could be the harm of trying to sell Hubble on Ebay? Sell it for the amount of time after it is decommisioned until NASA takes it down. That might get some bids..

And some stuff for Ebay: http://www.whattheheck.com/ebay/.

I can't seem to find a full listing of odd stuff sold on Ebay though.. Hmm. I've heard about the submarine, and why not? -Colt

Doodler
2003-Aug-12, 01:58 PM
Obsolescence can have several meanings, but in the case of the Hubble does 'obsolescent' mean 'useless'? The question seems to me to be 'is it worth the cost to keep it running?' And I have no idea.

I do agree that recovery for the sake of an artifact is a waste of money...if that money would be better used elsewhere. There is no evidence of that.

Its obsolete in the sense that if there is a new scope on station with X times more capability, then there is no need to keep it, it is superceded by superior technology. Its the same as asking why keep using a 386 when a Pentium 4 is available? Sure the 386 works, but the Pentium 4 works better. Furthermore why keep the 386 collecting dust on a shelf?

ToSeek
2003-Aug-12, 04:26 PM
The current plan is to use the Ariane 5. I would think the post-Challenger odds of using the shuttle for an activity that doesn't require human involvement (specifically, ISS missions or Hubble servicing) is zero. AFAIK, the shuttle still has the largest cargo carrying capacity of any vehicle in service. So its not just about human involvement.


You're right (the shuttle can carry 24,000 kg to LEO, while the best ELVs flying right now are well under 20,000 kg). However, in the post-Challenger environment there's no way astronauts are going to fly on any mission where they're not essential.

The JWST, incidentally, weighs about 6,200 kg, though that doesn't include whatever transfer booster would be needed to get it to L2.

BigJim
2003-Aug-12, 07:44 PM
Its obsolete in the sense that if there is a new scope on station with X times more capability, then there is no need to keep it, it is superceded by superior technology. Its the same as asking why keep using a 386 when a Pentium 4 is available? Sure the 386 works, but the Pentium 4 works better. Furthermore why keep the 386 collecting dust on a shelf?

But why destroy it? Even if you have the Pentium 4, you can still get additional data from the 386. The HST can observe things while the JWST is not observing them, and even though it may not be as good as the JWST it's better than nothing. As long as it's returning data, it's valuable. I say keep the HST in operation as long as it works, then have it reenter. At the very least, we should be absolutely sure that the JWST is working before decomissioning the Hubble.




You're right (the shuttle can carry 24,000 kg to LEO, while the best ELVs flying right now are well under 20,000 kg).

According to the Encyclopedia Astronautica, the Titan IVB can lift 21,680 kg to LEO, the heaviest Atlas V can launch 20,050 kg to LEO, while the STS can lift 24,400 kg to LEO. While slightly more capable, that extra 2,700 kg usually doesn't matter. The Destiny laboratory's mass was 14,520 kg - certainly not something requiring the Shuttle. It's just to keep the Shuttle busy.

Doodler
2003-Aug-12, 08:01 PM
But why destroy it? Even if you have the Pentium 4, you can still get additional data from the 386. The HST can observe things while the JWST is not observing them, and even though it may not be as good as the JWST it's better than nothing. As long as it's returning data, it's valuable. I say keep the HST in operation as long as it works, then have it reenter. At the very least, we should be absolutely sure that the JWST is working before decomissioning the Hubble.

Wholeheartedly agree with you there as far as keeping it on station until JWST is online, I had said that in an earlier post. Its already established that keeping both running simultaneously is not in the budget. Unfortunate, but that's the way Congress shells out the shekels.

Kaptain K
2003-Aug-12, 08:19 PM
Obsolescence can have several meanings, but in the case of the Hubble does 'obsolescent' mean 'useless'? The question seems to me to be 'is it worth the cost to keep it running?' And I have no idea.

I do agree that recovery for the sake of an artifact is a waste of money...if that money would be better used elsewhere. There is no evidence of that.

Its obsolete in the sense that if there is a new scope on station with X times more capability, then there is no need to keep it, it is superceded by superior technology. Its the same as asking why keep using a 386 when a Pentium 4 is available? Sure the 386 works, but the Pentium 4 works better. Furthermore why keep the 386 collecting dust on a shelf?
So, we should dismantle the Hale telescope, because it is a mere 5 meters and has been superceded by the Keck scopes and other 8+ meter scopes? :-?

Doodler
2003-Aug-12, 08:25 PM
Obsolescence can have several meanings, but in the case of the Hubble does 'obsolescent' mean 'useless'? The question seems to me to be 'is it worth the cost to keep it running?' And I have no idea.

I do agree that recovery for the sake of an artifact is a waste of money...if that money would be better used elsewhere. There is no evidence of that.

Its obsolete in the sense that if there is a new scope on station with X times more capability, then there is no need to keep it, it is superceded by superior technology. Its the same as asking why keep using a 386 when a Pentium 4 is available? Sure the 386 works, but the Pentium 4 works better. Furthermore why keep the 386 collecting dust on a shelf?
So, we should dismantle the Hale telescope, because it is a mere 5 meters and has been superceded by the Keck scopes and other 8+ meter scopes? :-?

If it cost five to seven hundred million dollars to upgrade or repair it every few years, darn straight tear it down.

Added: I understnad your analogy, but older telescopes on Earth are relatively easy to upgrade with better tracking, focusing and imaging equipment, and if something goes wrong, its fairly straightforward to repair the problem. With the Hubble, especially as it starts to really show its age, is going to be an order of magnitude harder to work with. You're spending half a billion dollars just GETTING to the telescope, even before you've popped the hood, as it were. In some cases, Keck comes immediately to mind, the imagining capabilities of the Hubble have already been superceded by ground telescopes BECAUSE they are so much easier to get to, its far more cost effective to instill in them the benefits of better control technology and processing equipment. The Hubble was a major step forward because of its ability to image objects without the interference from the atmosphere, since that time, ground scopes have caught up to it in that capability and will probably surpass it as new techniques are developed for filtering out atmospheric interference and increasing resolution as they become larger and more advanced or move toward multiple telescope interferometry. Even without JWST, its quickly being outmoded. JWST promises to offer us the same leap forward that we took when the Hubble was launched. The Hubble, while still useful, isn't the cutting edge tool it was in its early life. The JWST is going to be located far enough out where we don't need to constantly boost it, it won't be subject to all the debris in LEO and can produce information that exceeds the HST's ability. The HST is going to be a money pit.