Sci Station Canada

Friday, June 18, 2004

Canadian firm to grab hubble and eyeball shuttle reports that MD Robotics of Canada, the makers of Canadarm, the Space Shuttle remote Manipulator, have been approached to "to work on a potential spaceflight mission to robotically service the Hubble Space Telescope ... a sole source Request for Proposal (RFP) to MD Robotics for the development of a robotic grapple arm and a double-armed dexterous robot ... to accomplish the hardware exchange ... to service the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), called the HST Robotic Servicing and De-orbit Mission (HRSDM)."

NASA is contemplating conducting either the HRSDM or a mission for disposal only of the orbiting telescope. If the HRSDM is approved, it must be accomplished before systems on Hubble fail and the observatory goes into a scientifically useless tumble mode.

The decision by NASA to link up with MD Robotics is being justified on several key factors. The Canadian firm has the only known system with the high level of maturity, NASA feels, needed to meet the critical schedule requirements for integration, test, training, and launch.

... In other related space work, MD Robotics recently got the NASA go-ahead to proceed with the development of an extension to the space shuttle's Canadarm to inspect the Shuttle's thermal protection system on-orbit. The Inspection Boom, almost as long as the Canadarm itself, will enable astronauts to survey the Shuttle's thermal protection system -- tiles and wing leading edge panels.

Now, no one more than me would like to see such a fantastic chance come the way of one of Canada's premier Space industry operators but for my money the CX Orbital Life Extension Vehicle is the best option for saving Hubble. Have a look at Dennis Wingo's Rebuttal to Comments by the Houston Chronicle and Robert Zubrin Regarding NASA's Hubble Repair Options Basically it gives details of the proposal for a Robotic mission (nice photo) to place Hubble close to the ISS so that it could be serviced by Shuttle missions that could use the ISS as a safe Haven.


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