Hutchison and Hubble

The Houston Chronicle reported Friday that Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) has sent a letter to President Bush asking him to reverse NASA’s decision to cancel the SM4 Hubble servicing mission. The letter was accompanied by a petition signed by 26 former astronauts, including Scott Carpenter, Gene Cernan, and Dick Gordon, asking for the SM4 reinstatement. Both make the arguments that the benefits of a Hubble servicing mission outweigh the risks, and that robotic servicing of Hubble would not be as effective as a shuttle mission. ( has a copy of the letter and petition.) Interestingly, Hutchison has apparently elected not to cosponsor S.Res 324, the resolution introduced by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) two months ago that called for an independent study of the SM4 cancellation decision, and to continue preparations for that mission while the study was in progress. To date the only cosponsors for the resolution are Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Paul Sarbanes (D-MD), who signed on earlier this month.

2 comments to Hutchison and Hubble

  • Harold LaValley

    I have heard all the arguments for and against the servicing mission. It’s cancellation for in regards to safe haven, lack of inspection capability from a secure platform and many other such items.

    Some would say build Hubble II from the upgrade pieces and the backup mirror in the museum.

    Some would say do the robotic mission with maybe some minimal success of the upgrades including a deorbit package to be affixed to the Hubble to stabilize it for later use.

    Sending the shuttle still leaves the deorbit problem even if the shuttle makes it up there ok and unless the deorbit unit can be brought with the rest of the upgrade package for this mission then why do anything at all.

  • Harold LaValley

    Not knowing how much the deorbit booster wieghs here is a rough accounting with available lift capabilities.
    If either are capable of the lift requirement.

    Booster 2004 Cost($ millions)
    Atlas 5 551 125.1
    Delta 4 Heavy 193.4

    Added to that the estimated cost of approximate
    300 million for developing deorbit unit or more..