NASA and SpaceX will investigate how to increase the Hubble Telescope orbit so that life may extend

NASA and SpaceX will investigate how to increase the Hubble Telescope orbit so that life may extend ...

NASA and SpaceX have agreed to investigate the feasibility of granting Elon Musk''s company a contract to increase the Hubble Space Telescope to a higher orbit, with the aim of prolonging its life, according to the US space agency.

The famous observatory has been operating since 1990, roughly 335 miles (540 kilometers) above Earth, in an orbit that slowly decays over time.

Hubble has no on-board propulsion to alleviate the low yet still present atmospheric pressure in this area of space, and its altitude has been restored during Space Shuttle missions.

A SpaceX Dragon capsule would be involved in the proposed new experiment.

"A few months ago, SpaceX approached NASA with the idea for a commercial crew to help reboost our Hubble spacecraft," NASA''s chief scientist said, adding that the agency had agreed to the study at no cost to itself.

He stressed that there are no specific intentions to conduct or fund such a mission at this time, unless the technical challenges are better understood.

  • Artemis I October Launch Will be ''''Difficult'''', NASA Says

One of the biggest difficulties would be that the Dragon spacecraft, unlike the Space Shuttles, does not have a robotic arm, and would require modifications for such a mission.

SpaceX proposed the idea in collaboration with the Polaris programme, a private human spaceflight project led by billionaire Jared Isaacman, who last year organized a SpaceX Crew Dragon to orbit the Earth with three other private astronauts.

"This would certainly comply with the criteria we set for the Polaris program," Isaacman said as a response to a question about whether reboosting Hubble might be the goal of a future Polaris mission.

According to a reporter, he believes there might be an assumption that the mission was conducted to help wealthy people do tasks in space.

Hubble remains among the most valuable tools in scientific history, including this year detecting the farthest individual star ever seen -- Earendel, who was lightless for 12.9 billion years.

According to Patrick Crouse, the company''s project manager, the company will continue to operate this decade.