When the space shuttle program wrapped up 11 years ago, one of the many things that was lost was the ability to service the Hubble Space Telescope, which needed quite a bit of service back in the shuttle days.
For years, it has been understood that if anything major failed on Hubble after the last shuttle touched down, it could spell the end of the space telescope. Beyond hardware failures, the telescope’s decaying orbit also poses a long-term danger.
…but all that could be changing. Seth Kurkowski has details:
NASA and SpaceX signed an unfunded Space Act Agreement to produce a study on the capability of using Dragon to dock with Hubble and boost it into its original 372-mile orbit around Earth. This isn’t an announcement that SpaceX will do so, or a promise that NASA will sign off on the mission, but it is one step closer to having it become a possibility. According to both NASA Associate Administrator Thomas Zubuchen and Hubble’s project manager Patrick Crouse, the space observatory is in good condition and is expected to last well through this decade and beyond.
If this Hubble mission is deemed possible, the mission would launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 with a Crew Dragon.