Several of the arguments used agains fixing Hubble are not very good arguments, but some are very good. Let's start with the good arguments against fixing Hubble:
- A repair mission is expensive -- The total cost of a mission would be over a billion dollars. That money would have to come from other NASA programs, such as future space telescopes.
- If the shuttle were to lose part of its protective shielding, there would not be enough time for a rescue mission -- This is true unless a second shuttle happened to be put on the launch pad, ready to go on a rescue mission at a few days' notice. This would raise the cost of the mission a lot.
- Hubble has outlived its planned lifetime -- Also true; it was hoped that Hubble would last 5 years, maybe 10. And its up to 15 years!
Next time I'll talk a bit about some of the flimsier arguments used against a servicing mission, and then in the last of three parts, I'll give what I feel are good arguments for servicing Hubble.