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US Aborts Plans To Repair Hobbled Hubble: Reports

According to Space.com, NASA's budget would include funding for a robotic vehicle that would steer the telescope into the ocean when its batteries or gyroscopes stop functioning.
Washington DC (AFP) Jan 22, 2005
The future of the Hubble Space Telescope hangs in the balance, after the White House declined to approve the necessary funding to repair and upgrade the apparatus, US media reported.

The White House, in consultation with NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe, eliminated the funding for the project - estimated at over one billion dollars - from NASA's proposed budget for fiscal 2006, which begins October 1, The Washington Post said Saturday, citing anonymous administration sources.

NASA spokesman Robert Mirelson dismissed the reports as "pure speculation" and told AFP it would be "inappropriate" for him to discuss the matter "before the budget proposal comes out to the Congress February 7."

According to Space.com, an online news service, NASA's budget would include funding for a robotic vehicle that would steer the telescope into the ocean when its batteries or gyroscopes stop functioning.

US astronauts conducted four shuttle missions to repair and upgrade the Hubble (in 1991, 1993, 1997 and 2002), and a fifth and final manned shuttle mission had been expected in 2006 to replace aging batteries and install new sensors and gyroscopes.

Since it entered into service in 1990, the Hubble has established the age of the Milky Way at between 13 billion and 14 billion years, helped gather evidence to support the Big Bang theory and provided the first convincing proof by an optical telescope of the existence of black holes.

If nothing is done, Hubble, built to last until the end of 2005, could still survive until 2007. Repairs would have kept the telescope in service until 2011.

All rights reserved. � 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.

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AAS Endorses Hubble Options Report
Washington DC (SPX) Jan 18, 2005
In a statement released Tuesday, the American Astronomical Society, the largest professional scientific association for astronomers and astrophysicists, has endorsed the National Research Council Report on "The Assessment of Options for Extending the Life of Hubble Space Telescope", which calls for a servicing mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope using astronauts and the space shuttle.

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