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Committee recommends reexamining shuttle Hubble mission
Posted: Wed, Jul 14, 2004, 11:38 AM ET (1538 GMT)
Hubble Space Telescope (NASA) A National Academies of Science committee has concluded that NASA should not rule out sending a space shuttle to repair the Hubble Space Telescope, a mission that the agency cancelled earlier this year. The interim report released late Tuesday by the committee, composed of scientists, engineers, and retired NASA astronauts and managers, recommended that NASA plan a servicing mission of some kind that would carry out the full objectives of the shuttle SM4 servicing mission that NASA cancelled in January, including the installation of two new instruments on the orbiting telescope. The report noted that while it may be possible to carry out such a mission robotically, it would entail a number of significant technological challenges. The report stopped short, though, of clearly endorsing a shuttle servicing mission, instead recommending that NASA "take no actions that would preclude a space shuttle servicing mission". In a statement NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe thanked the committee for their work to date but made no comment on its recommendation that NASA keep open options for a shuttle mission.
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