word going around that Hubble servicing mission scheduled for May is in danger of being reconsidered because of higher mission risk

haven’t seen the memo, but it went around:

due to the Iridium vs Kosmos collision there is concern that higher debris levels in LEO make SM4 too risky, and it is to be re-evaluated and possibly postponed, again, or canceled.

that kinda sux

if someone has the memo, do pass it along, there’s a good chap

here’s the satellite collision story, in case you missed it – was all over the news media

This is going to be a real problem, because there is still no administrator for NASA, and this sort of thing requires a pro-active high level decision.
Since the issue has been raised, a default action to play it safe and postpone a decision is likely (although a keep going as before is also a possible default decision).

It is going to be an interesting spring.

PS: Universe Today has more


  1. #1 Brad
    February 19, 2009

    Apparently this made CNN and some other pubs (see Nature article here.

    I have not heard anything from anyone at ST.

    Oh, and NASAwatch has a new candidate for NASA adminstrator.

  2. #2 Steinn Sigurdsson
    February 20, 2009

    So what I hear now is that the debris should not be an issue for SM4 – it is at the wrong attitude and inclination – which makes sense from the rough numbers I heard;
    but, there’s some cracking in hydrogen valves and they’re not sure if this is something to be waived or requiring a slip while fixing – launch is still on for may 12, nominally, but a delay seems also to be under active consideration

  3. #3 Brad
    February 20, 2009

    Well, I am glad that the debris is not an issue. The valves, though, remind me why Griffin wants to retire shuttle.

    Thanks for the update.