Thu, Jul 15, 2004
NASA-Commission Report Urges Repair Of Space Telescope
The National Research
Council really, really wants NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe to
rethink his decision against sending a manned rescue mission to the
Hubble Space Telescope. At least on the surface, it appears Mr.
O'Keefe got the message.
Even though he's said he would rather attempt to repair and
replenish Hubble with a robotic mission, O'Keefe told the NRC he'd
"keep our options open to assure the best possible outcome."
O'Keefe cancelled plans for a shuttle mission to the Hubble last
January. He decided, in the wake of the Columbia disaster, that a
manned mission to the space telescope in 2006 would simply be too
much of a risk.
But Tuesday, a hand-picked, Congressionally-approved committee
of 20 NRC scientists, begged to differ. "The committee has
recommended that NASA keep its options open, that NASA should not
preclude a space shuttle servicing mission to the Hubble Space
Telescope at this point in time," Louis Lanzerotti, a consultant
for Bell Laboratories and Lucent Technologies who chaired the
committee, told reporters. He was quoted in the Houston
The NRC's final report isn't due for another two months. But
calling the Hubble "arguably the most important telescope in the
world," the scientists decided to speak up early in hopes of
getting O'Keefe to change his mind.
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