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A space tourist will break the Hubble Space Telescope.

ScienceA space tourist will break the Hubble Space Telescope.

The Hubble Space Telescope has not been serviced by astronauts in 15 years. Technical issues have forced teams back on the ground many times. Which is the reason why the billionaire space tourist is willing to pay for a maintenance mission to fix the telescope. Emails obtained by the broadcaster suggest that the agency's scientists are still weighing the risks and rewards of such a mission. Even if NASA's Space Shuttle came by, there was still a chance of damage to the telescope. "This is a fantastic savings for NASA, but also a very challenging concept for NASA legal and procurement," NASA astrophysics program manager Barbara Grofic wrote in an email obtained by NPR. A retired Hubble operations expert who helped evaluate the plan wrote that it was unnecessary and risky and that he was in favor of a "well-planned" mission to service the outpost. The complexity of the construct that is needed to safely do a reboost and the extreme immaturity of SpaceX's willingness to accept risk is different than NASA's, wrote the current program manager for the International Space Program, Dana Wiegel. The need for reboost is one of the issues that John wrote about. NASA can work with Congress and the Administration to request funds for a Hubble reboost or enhancement mission, using a commercial partner where NASA is in the drivers seat, and the maturity of the space systems is higher and lower risk. The crew that killed the Hubble Space Telescope is not the ones who repaired it, according to Scott "Scooter" Altman, one of the astronauts who worked on it. It's an unusual clash of decades-old tech that paved the way for astronomy and cutting-edge space exploration, highlighting the tension between the space agency and the burgeoning private space industry, which has made considerable strides in recent years. The first all-civilian mission into space saw a crew of four circle the Earth. He's been pushing for the maintenance mission for a long time, and he's worried that the "clock" is running out. For one, the company has yet to prove that astronauts can safely venture outside of the Crew Dragon capsule. The first-ever private spacewalk will take place later this year on an upcoming mission dubbed Polaris Dawn, which is part of the Polaris Program. NASA has been looking into the idea of having a private crew visit the Hubble. Hubble experts voiced concerns over whether or not SpaceX would be able to work on the observatory. NASA's Space Shuttle used to service the Hubble five times between 1993 and 2009, but it doesn't have a robotic arm. Without an airlock, the entire capsule would have to be depressurized during a spacewalk. "It's the first time you don't have government astronauts doing such a mission, you know." Thankfully, there's still time. The Hubble has broken down again.

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