NASA Is Studying A Private Mission To Boost Hubble’s Orbit

  • NASA staged five space shuttle missions to Hubble in low-Earth orbit between 1993 and 2009 to upgrade science instruments, replace failed systems and boost Hubble’s orbit, which naturally decays over time because of friction against the tenuous outer reaches of Earth’s atmosphere.
  • Servicing missions ceased with the end of the space shuttle program, leaving Hubble in a slow but steady descent toward Earth.
  • Without further intervention, NASA officials say the telescope has a 50 percent chance of falling back into the atmosphere in 2037.
  • Now, however, a new hope for Hubble is emerging from the realm of commercial spaceflight.
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