h a l f b a k e r y
This is what happens when one confuses "random" with "profound."
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So, there's currently a big uproar over the demise of Hubble. The inclusion in this year's budget of $70 million dollars to safely kill it (make sure it falls on ocean rather than a populated area) pretty much seals its doom, as far as the government is concerned.
The private space industry has been
growing over the past several decades. Private companies now routinely put satellites into orbit. The X-Prize stimulated private funding of a manned space flight.
So, my idea is for a private individual or organization to plan a service mission to Hubble. There are at least two years to plan it - earliest estimates of Hubble dying are 2007. There could be several more years of life in Hubble, though, depending on exactly when its parts fail and if scientists can figure out how to make it work with only two functioning gyroscopes.
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||Hmm, offer $70million as an X-prize to rescue it?
||Surely the shuttle could put it back in it's original orbit almost as easily as it put it there the first time?
||It could, yes, but since the Columbia accident, new shuttle flight rules prohibit any flight path that cannot reach International Space Station orbit, and Hubble is not on an ISS flight path. Therefore the shuttle can't go to Hubble anymore. Since any Hubble rescue/repair mission will require a manned flight, and the shuttle is the only transport we got...
||Yeah, that's really dumb. Not content with our access to space being restricted to the tiny little area we can actually get to, NASA have restricted it further to include almost nothing at all. Let's get Spaceship One up there.
||Spaceship one is sub-orbital.
I'v read that the sonyoz(sp?) could potentialy be used.
I'v read that replacing the hubble would be cheaper than repairing it.
||Hire it out as a private high-powered spy satellite. Useful for anything from private investigator work to stealing corporate secrets through competitor's skylights.