Status Report

Administrator Addresses Hubble Team: Email from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Director to all Employees

By SpaceRef Editor
March 22, 2004
Filed under , ,

Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2004 09:01:00 -0500


From: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Subject: Administrator Addresses Hubble Team


Reply-To: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center


Last Friday, NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe, along with Dr. Ed Weiler, the Associate Administrator for Space Science, and Dr. John Grunsfeld, the NASA Chief Scientist, came to GSFC to talk to the Hubble Space Telescope leadership Team.

In his remarks, the Administrator made three important points.

1 – He reiterated his commitment to conduct each and every flight of the Space Shuttle in full compliance with all of the recommendations of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. As he has said before, this means applying the same discipline to every flight as we apply to our initial Return to Flight as detailed in “NASA’s Implementation Plan for the Space Shuttle Return to Flight and Beyond.” We must act responsibly on all future flights and be fully compliant.

2 – He discussed his agreement with Sen. Kit Bond and Sen. Barbara Mikulski, the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Appropriations for HUD, VA and Independent Agencies, to have the National Academy of Sciences assist NASA in a study of future alternatives for the Hubble Space Telescope.

3 – He asked the Hubble Team to focus all of its considerable expertise, innovation and energy on determining the extent to which Hubble’s scientifically useful life can be extended by any means including robotic servicing and to the extent that it can, develop a mission plan for doing so.

We are delighted by the challenge that the Administrator gave us. The implications of robotic servicing are particularly significant. Not only could such a capability, if feasible, service Hubble. It could be a capability that might be valuable in the achievement of the President’s Exploration Vision.

I have appointed Frank Cepollina as Project Manager for this effort. In addition, recognizing the tremendous amount of talent at each of the NASA Centers that can make a contribution to this near term study and potentially to its execution, I have sent a note to the other NASA Center Directors asking them to identify individuals who can work with us in an active way over the course of the coming weeks and months as we review ideas from our NASA team members and industry partners to formulate a strategy for the future conduct of Hubble operations and potentially even robotic servicing.

NASA has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to solicit ideas regarding HST life extension and disposal. Responses to this RFI are due to NASA later this month. The Hubble Program will lead an evaluation of the responses to determine the most promising and feasible ideas that can be applied to further study.

Over the next few weeks we will be developing a plan to bring forward to the Office of Space Science so as to set the course of action over the next several months. As the plan and process develops, I will keep you informed of our progress.

It will take a lot of effort over the course of the next weeks and months, but the HST Team is highly motivated to make this happen, and it is my sincere belief that if anybody can do it, they can.

A. V. Diaz


SpaceRef staff editor.