33 thoughts on “Hubble Trouble”

      1. A private mission, ostensibly based in a country not a member of said treaty. Say, the Marshall Islands, Kyrgyzstan or Tuvalu, then

  1. Also, the worst case noted is not much different from what will be happening, ANYWAY. Except for the bodies of the (Non-NASA) astronauts. And burning up on reentry isn’t a bad memorial….we are after all, starstuff and to starstuff we return

    1. And burning up on reentry isn’t a bad memorial….

      or fast forward to 7:19

      Benson Arizona,
      The same stars in the sky,
      but they seem so much faster,
      when we watch them you and I.

  2. Hubble’s Debris Field will be nothing next to the ISS’es.

    Although we may have until sometime before 2034, there is the fact that the telescope is largely controllable now. The other risk is that if you wait until the telescope becomes uncontrollable then that would not only prohibit a rescue mission, it would hasten its demise. As they say in the insurance biz, that’s not necessarily a reliable number.

    Issacman should keep quiet and quietly extend an offer to use NASA astronaut(s) as the repair crew.

    Polaris Dawn will go a long ways to moving this forward.

    1. Isaacman wants to lead the mission personally, has prior space experience and is about to get more – including spacewalking. That’s hardly an unreasonable pre-condition for someone of his background and experience who’s also offering to cover the entire tab for the mission out of his own pocket.

      The astronaut office would be well-advised to lose the labor union attitude before commercial space stations start going up. This sort of dog-in-the-manger-ism in combination with NASA’s tendency to assume a divine right to rule is a good way to insure NASA gets booted as a tenant from future commercial LEO stations once its initial leases are up. NASA is hardly the only sovereign client out there. Commercial space station operators may find they heartily prefer to deal with clients who come toting a lot less “baggage.”

      As for Isaacman and Polaris, I hope he’s already kicking around ideas for a “Plan B” should the NASA “dog” finally decide – as seems increasingly likely – to deny him access to the Hubble “bone.”

      If I was him I’d be talking to Vast about putting together a shakedown/enhancement Polaris 2 mission to Haven-1 for 2025-6. Command the first crew to occupy a brand new commercial space station. Find or buy something nifty – perhaps even a sizable telescope – that can be brought up in Dragon’s trunk and attached to Haven-1 by spacewalking. Perhaps even have EMUs for the SpaceX EVA suits by that time. Lots of possibilities.

      1. Find or buy something nifty – perhaps even a sizable telescope – that can be brought up in Dragon’s trunk and attached to Haven-1 by spacewalking.

        Like a 28″ f/2.7 Webster in Lava Red? This appears accessorized for serious gawking.

        Hey don’t chide me. I don’t market these things!

        1. Furthest thing from my mind. Maybe take up a pair of such and mount them symetrically.

        1. Not if someone else owns the fiddle. Isaacman needs to work on some contingencies involving non-NASA “fiddles.”

          1. Well, NASA has a choice: Let a private rescue mission occur (even if it means that non-NASA workers do the work), do nothing and lose a national asset, or do it themselves, thereby screwing their budget for years.

            Now, NASA being NASA, their default is #2, but if Congress forces them, they’ll go with #3.

            The correct answer is #1.

            And to assuage any OST concerns, a rescue/salvage party sponsored by the Marshall Islands…

          2. Perhaps the Fairy Godmother Dept. of NASA will see fit to greenlight #1 while the Dirty Tricks Dept. and the Practical Jokes Dept. are both attending a DEI seminar. Otherwise, I fear the latter two wings of NASA will contrive to figure out whichever of options #2 and #3 will do the most long-term damage and choose the winner.

    2. “Hubble’s Debris Field will be nothing next to the ISS’es.”

      True, and it being at 28.47 degrees inclination means it will miss all of the big cities, north and south. What it won’t miss is a huge amount of north-south airways and shipping lanes. That makes it a non-trivial problem. Typical satellite demise results in about 40% of the initial mass surviving entry and reaching the surface. I suspect that Hubble’s surviving debris mass will be higher. And its entry, on its own, will be largely unpredictable. The only control NASA will have is orientation, and that will affect only the drag profile. If they lose the orientation control, entry will be completely unpredictable.

      There are international working groups grappling with the risks of random spacecraft entry, and they worry about a lot smaller spacecraft than this one.

      ISS is a beast of its own, with a predicted 11,000 km long debris field and high-inclination overflight of huge swaths of the landmass of Earth. They’ve been working on ways to get it down for decades, and are no closer (as far as I know) than when they started.

      1. Thought. Attach something capable of pushing ISS into L4/L5 and leave it there for parts…

        1. Without thermal control and power, the parts won’t be worth getting. I’m not sure they are worth much now except as a whole, operating station.

          1. At least it won’t be causing flaming cratered mischief orbiting there. Who knows? Somebody might make use of a Unity module for something.

      2. (bong) Folks this is your captain speaking. We are currently cruising at 480 knots at an altitude of 36,000 ft. We show an on-time arrival for our destination at Chicago. For those of you who are riding with us tonight on the left side of the aircraft you are getting a tremendous fireworks display as we see descending debris from the de-orbiting International Space Station. Should anything come in contact with our aircraft, I will advise. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy our 2 hr 15m flight to Chicago…. Maybe.

  3. The likely-hood that NPR will report next that the proposed Issacman mission to save Hubble is a risky gamble likely to destroy the space telescope, will probably depend on if they discover to which presidential campaign he contributes in 2024.

    1. Quite likely. But given the run-around Isaacman has been getting from Biden-regime NASA for the past two years, I sure know where I’d be putting my campaign contribution money if I was him.

    1. If the Hubbell repair mission was on the first Polaris (Dawn) mission then the mission with the first EVA and first real use of the suit would also be the Hubbell repair mission. Seems like a risk to me.

    2. Nope. The Hubble reboost and repair mission was being proposed as Polaris 2. Polaris 3 is to be the first crewed launch of Starship – presumably the Dear Moon-class version.

  4. You could fit an airlock the same size as the one on Soyuz in the Dragon trunk. It would have to be mounted on the upper stage so as not to interfere with the LES, but once in orbit could be retrieved via transposition and docking (like the Apollo LM). It would hold two EVAists, and could have two dock ports (one on each end) so as to dock with, for example, Haven-1. And then it could be left at Haven-1 rather than discarded.

    You could also build a workshop based on Cygnus to do things like Hubble repair. A separately launched space tug could put it through TLI-type plane changes as needed, or sent to lunar space, etc. Or you could just repurpose PMM/Halo when it’s ready and forget about Gateway. My favorite use for PMM/Halo is to replace the ISS/ROS and then extend ISS to 2050. Some spiffing up necessary for the older parts of the USOS. Especially after Axiom Segment is added, you’re talking about ISS with a crew of 16. Worth it? I see this as an interesting engineering challenge.

    1. There is so much that could be done with F9 hardware and Dragon other than as a taxi service. Unfortunately we seem short on Issacmans that have both the cash and the desire. We shouldn’t be relying on Elon to do everything.

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