With each passing year, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope (HST) sinks deeper and deeper into Earth’s atmosphere. At a certain point, it will turn into a ball of fire and its remains will return to their home planet, now definitely. However, despite all its years, the HST has proven to be a very powerful tool, even today, so two companies are already devising a plan to save the contraption and extend its useful life for several more yearsreport from gizmodo.
At the end of 2022, NASA put out a call to all those who could come up with a way to raise Hubble’s orbit. Now, Tokyo-based startup Astroscale and Californian Momentus Space have revealed a very interesting draft. In it, use joint effort to achieve the goal of the space agency in a very ingenious way.
How is the procedure devised by the companies? In the draft it is detailed as follows: an unmanned rocket will be in charge of carrying a propellant to low Earth orbit. The latter, devised by Momentus, will use its propulsion through water to drag Hubble some 50 kilometers higher. In addition, during the process, it will be in charge of cleaning the area surrounding the telescope of space debris, to ensure greater protection for it. This latest technology has been developed by Astroscale.
NASA is still studying proposals to save the Hubble Space Telescope
Of course, NASA has yet to assess the feasibility of the project. Currently, the US space agency is working with SpaceX, Elon Musk’s company, and it is also planning to develop a project to take Hubble to new heights. In fact, at the end of 2022 the company offered the agency to save the telescope at no cost.
Along the same lines, Ron López, president and managing director of Astroscale, makes it clear from the outset that this is just a proposal, not a project in development. In a statement, he comments that “what we have proposed to NASA are options. Options that were not available during the previous five manned servicing missions.”
When Hubble’s lifespan comes to an end, NASA will remove it from Earth orbit through safe methods. Its remains are expected to land in the sea, as is the case with all space artifacts that no longer work. In the meantime, before this happens, maybe one of these start-up companies, in cooperation with the US space agency, can extend the life of the telescope for another couple of years.