Space Foundation endorses Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission, looks toward future with James Webb Space Telescope
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 31, 2006) -- Space Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Elliot G. Pulham made the following statement in response to NASA's decision announced today to pursue a fifth servicing mission for the Hubble Space Telescope: "The Hubble Space Telescope is the most prolific, and arguably the most profound scientific instrument that humankind has ever placed in space. NASA's decision to perform one more servicing mission for Hubble demonstrates that exploration takes many forms, and that the fundamental science of discovery is still alive, well, and important at NASA." "There will be risk in servicing Hubble, but NASA rightly has decided that this risk is justified. The Hubble Space Telescope has become one of the most popular NASA missions of all time by generating unprecedented insight into the origins of the universe. The opportunity to continue this unique investigation into the most fundamental questions of our existence is worth both the risk and the cost of one last servicing mission." "While NASA plans to upgrade Hubble for continued astronomical research, we should be mindful that a successor is already under development. The James Webb Space Telescope will have capabilities that will dwarf those of Hubble, and the new lease on life for Hubble should not in any way delay or distract NASA from fielding an even more awesome instrument - one that can see deep into time and space, where even an upgraded Hubble cannot go. As we cheer NASA's decision to extend the life of Hubble, we anticipate even greater discoveries to come from the James Webb Space Telescope." The Hubble Space Telescope was launched in 1990 and marked the most significant advance in astronomy since Galileo's telescope. The space shuttle will carry seven astronauts - Commander Scott Altman, Pilot Gregory Johnson and mission specialists John Grunsfeld, Michael Massimino, Andrew Feustel, Michael Good and K. Megan McArthur - on this fifth servicing mission occurring no earlier than the summer of 2008 and no later than the fall of 2008. After an 11-day mission and five spacewalks to repair and replace parts and add two new instruments to the telescope, Hubble is projected to continue providing world-class science at least through 2013. If NASA did not service Hubble, it was expected to continue operating through 2009. About the Space Foundation Founded in 1983 and headquartered in Colorado Springs, the Space Foundation is a national nonprofit organization that vigorously advances civil, commercial, and national security space endeavors and inspires, enables, and propels tomorrow's explorers. The Space Foundation has offices in Washington, D.C., and Cape Canaveral, Fla. The Space Foundation's signature event, the National Space Symposium, is scheduled for April 9-12, 2007, at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo. Along with partnering organizations, the Space Foundation also conducts Strategic Space and Defense, Oct. 9-11, 2007, in Omaha, Neb. For more information, visit www.SpaceFoundation.org.