NASA Renews Hubble Space Telescope For 5 More Years Of Awesomeness

NASA Renews Hubble Space Telescope For 5 More Years Of Awesomeness

When the Hubble Space Telescope was launched into earth’s orbit in April of 1990, it was given a lifespan of 15 years. After those 15 years, the telescope was expected to take its place in the cosmic graveyard of dead satellites and space junk that currently surrounds our planet.

Hubble has greatly exceeded those initial expectations. Not only is the telescope still in operation today, but NASA has now extended its contract by an additional five years, giving it the green light until at least July 30, 2021. That means five more years of crucial information on our solar system and the endless expanses of deep space that sprawl beyond it. That also means five more years of mind-boggling Hubble photographs like these.

The Hubble Space Telescope’s mission extension was announced on the NASA website.

“After the final space shuttle servicing mission to the telescope in 2009, Hubble is better than ever,” the announcement explained. “Hubble is expected to continue to provide valuable data into the 2020’s, securing its place in history as an outstanding general purpose observatory in areas ranging from our solar system to the distant universe.”

Of course, Hubble’s extended lifespan doesn’t mean NASA is putting off other projects. In 2018, the agency will be launching the state of the art James Webb Space Telescope, which will work alongside Hubble for several years, and eventually replace it as “the premier observatory of the next decade.” From there, this new telescope will “build on Hubble’s legacy of discoveries and help unlock some of the biggest mysteries of the universe,” relying on vastly superior infrared technology and a much better vantage point 1.5 million kilometers away, inside the sun’s orbit rather than the earth’s.

In an era of political shifts and budget cuts, NASA’s long-term future is far from certain. But with this announcement of Hubble’s contract extension, and the imminent launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, we can be certain that the organization is likely to shine some serious light on the mysteries of the universe over the next few decades.

Tags: Nasa

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