"Ask not what the Hubble can do for you - ask what you can do for the Hubble."
SavetheHubble.com, after JFK
Last updated in 04/12/2004, 20:50 GMT.
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Save the Hubble Latest News
Astronauts (with the right stuff) who fixed Hubble fight to save it (03/19) here
Most distant object in solar system found (WMD?) (03/15) here
Nasa throws Hubble robot lifeline (03/12) here
Senators: Don't Doom Hubble Yet (03/11) here
Hubble image said to echo van Gogh 'Starry Night'(03/05)
HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE - Continuing to collect World Class Science (03/06) here
Universe Has At Least 30 Billion Years Left
(Yeah, we have time to get to the moon and mars!) (02/20) here
Hubble eyes new phase of supernova explosion.se (02/20) here
Dark Age for astronomy as Hubble's window on the universe begins to close (02/17) here
DART, this is what they're planning to hit Hubble with! here (02/174)
Hubble spots the most distant galaxy ever and breaks record. Again. here (02/16)
Expert warns NASA can't afford Mars plan. here (12/02)
NASA Panel begins space exploration hearings. here (12/02)
President Bush's Commission "inspired" by SavetheHubble.com?
Compare the name of the commission with
the last sentence of January 29th SavetheHubble.com's BBC interview (11/02)
NASA says `no' to Hubble repair here (10/02)
Hubble spies 'Evil Eye' galaxy here (09/02)
Hubble detects oxygen, carbon near distant planet here
NASA engineers dispute decision to ax Hubblehere (09/02)
NASA to rethink Hubble decision here(Thank you James)
Senator Makes Plea for Hubble Reprieve. here (Thank you Maureen)
NASA Chief: Hubble Decision Under Review here
HUBBLEGATE? Engineer's Papers Dispute Hubble Decision (09/02) PDF, here (Thank you Bob)
NYT original article here (needs free registering) (Thank you Jonathan)
"The true impact is years in the making, when the Hubble fails"
He claims to be, perhaps, the first of hundreds of victims who will have to face unemployment. Having lost his job the day after the announcement of the cancellation of Hubble Service Mission (SM 4), Michael Milauskas was a process engineer for the manufacture of the Super Lightweight Interchangeable Carrier - SLIC.
Mr. Milauskas talked to SavetheHubble.com:
Michael, it's a pleasure to talk to someone who has been, directly involved with the Hubble Space Telescope! First of all, please tell us what exactly is the SLIC and what part did you take in its development/building.
First, I was not involved with the telescope, just the carrier for the last service mission. Very simply, SLIC was to be the carrier to hold the hardware in the shuttle bay for SM4. It was constructed from advanced composite materials. SLIC was originally designed for Columbia because it was much lighter than NASA’s existing carriers, and Columbia, as the oldest shuttle, was also the heaviest.
A lighter carrier translates, of course, to an increased payload. An increased payload is a priceless commodity in just about any special mission -- aircraft or spacecraft.
SLIC construction continued after the Columbia disaster as the carrier would work with any shuttle and had potential for ISS missions as well.
My role was one of many, to assure that composite components for SLIC were both manufactured and assembled to the highest standards possible to assure a safe mission. I have been involved in the shuttle program before, way back to development, having worked on the boron/aluminum mid-fuselage struts. I was happy and proud to be contributing to this effort.
How did you receive the news about the cancellation of SM4 and the subsequent "cancellation" of your own job?
I read a preliminary news blip on the Washington Post web page on, I believe January 15. I informed the program manager. He turned pale and, in turn, immediately called the SLIC Program Director at Goddard. Neither had heard anything. It was a complete shock to everyone. The news media had word of the cancellation before anyone working on the SM4 program.
The official announcement was made the following day at Goddard in the morning. Men cried. I was dismissed at 3:30 PM the same day. To be fair, I was a contract engineer and contact employees are always the first to go. It is the nature of my business.
Being an insider, what consequences do you foresee for the highly specialized workforce involved in the Hubble operation/maintenance? Before you answer this one please read what our former SavetheHubble.com InterViewed, an aerospace engineer who preferred to remain anonymous, wrote: "(...) folks currently working on the new Hubble hardware (...) are all bailing out, finding other work. If NASA doesn't decide to fly by August, you won't be able to do it because the test and engineering teams will be gone."
I can’t say for certain as I was forced to leave my home in Maryland. My house on the Potomac sits empty. It was a bleak situation in January and it certainly has not improved. Many of those working for the contractors lost their jobs. Others, I’m told, will be absorbed into other programs. However the losses in and around NASA may be just the tip of the iceberg. So much of what NASA does is contacted out. The true impact is years in the making, when the Hubble fails.
I perhaps was fortunate in being the first to lose my job. I have returned to commercial aerospace, yet that market is shaky at best. Since then, the Comanche Helicopter Program was canceled. I won’t argue the merits, plus or minus, of that program except to say it, again, thrusts hundreds of engineers from our jobs. I very concerned for the long term. I would have a tough time convincing a young person to pursue an engineering career.
Now, shifting to the realm of science, what, in your opinion, are going to be the losses in terms of research and data collecting? I've read that Hubble's life would be extended by "only" three or four years and it wouldn't make to big as difference.
There are many others in the scientific community better qualified to comment in that area. The question is: How many will we lose in that community while waiting for the Hubble replacement?
What is your opinion about the cost/benefit ratio of sending manned mission to moon and mars in relation to automated missions and research satellites?
Having worked on UAV’s for the US military, it is clearly their intent to remove the pilot whenever feasible, for both cost and safety. The US can not longer afford such “manned” aircraft programs and, thus, is investing billions of dollars in unmanned programs. Perhaps, NASA should follow their lead.
In my personal opinion, this manned Mars mission directive is a blatant political move by a US President who will do anything and everything to keep his job. His father tried the same and neither he nor NASA gained a thing. Let’s hope Mr. Bush is the only loser comes November.
As an engineer do you consider feasible the possibility of sending a robot to service Hubble?
I’m not qualified to comment on robotics nor am I knowledgeable of the details of the mission. Yet it seems a long shot in the near term. Given the clock is ticking, my gut feel is that it is a pie-in-the-sky possibility. Again, I am no expert in this area but doubt the NASA bureaucracy could or would be motivated to pull it off. It seems a smoke screen at best.
A last one: Would you, knowing the dangers involved, volunteer to fly in a Service Mission to the Hubble Space Telescope?
I personally would not. I was involved in building the shuttle and I feel it is way over due for replacement. Yet I’m sure every astronaut within NASA feels differently. It’s just one more mission of many before the fleet is retired. The “dangers” are at their peak during liftoff and reentry. NASA will take every precaution (and then some) for every flight. I can’t see how this one additional mission can be deemed so dangerous. NASA simply can not be allowed to fall back to “business as usual.”
My belief is that NASA failed miserably to deliver a safer replacement for the shuttle fleet in a timely manner when they had the opportunity to do so. They failed not because it was technically infeasible. I’ll reserve comment on my personal opinion as to why they did fail. Yet they did have a remarkable success with hypersonic flight today (March 27), so perhaps more time is needed for a viable shuttle replacement.
Thank you Michael, let's hope we make a difference!
You’re very welcome. The odds look bleak in my view, yet this global effort to extend the life of NASA’s greatest scientific achievement should not, and can not be decided by one man or, more importantly, by one US administration. This is a truly global asset. I wish the best of luck to you.
Save the Hubble 03/29/2004 Messages of the Day
Read previous Messages of the Day, here
Save the Hubble Inspiring Message of the Day:
"I am an ex Social Studies teacher who wishes the Hubble had been in existence when I was teaching.
I have never seen anything so inspiring, yet humbling as our heavens on a clear night. To close a window to that majestic sight would be incredibly sad. If our government is too short sighted to keep Hubble alive and well, perhaps the private sector can. Let Congress deed Hubble to us so we and our children can enjoy what may never again be matched in beauty!" Cliff.
Save the Hubble Reason of the Day:
"I know O'Keefe is saying that servicing the Hubble will place the seven astronauts in danger. NASA is claiming they want to attach boosters to the Hubble in the next decade to do a controlled descent into the Pacific. However if Hubble is not serviced, won't the power supply and gyroscopes eventually stop working and potentially cause Hubble to go into an uncontrolled spin and crash into the Earth? Granted the odds are likely that it will land in an ocean, but if it strikes land, it could kill who knows how many people. Looking solely at the numbers, it is better to risk the lives of seven brave people who not only know and accept the risks that come with their jobs but who also volunteer for it as well versus potentially hundreds of innocent bystanders on land getting struck by falling debris? During the service to replace power supplies and gyroscopes, since the equipment is already built, why not also upgrade the equipment as well. It will simply be a mission to prevent disaster on land that just happens to have the extra benefit of upgrading the most important scientific piece of equipment Astronomy has ever had. How could O'Keefe argue against this logic?" James Oliver
Save the Hubble Serene Message of the Day:
I find it illogical that such a 'weighty' decision as to whether or not to send any further missions to Hubble is in the hands of one man (O'Keefe). As long as there are qualified people who are willing to volunteer to continue servicing this magnificent instrument then surely it should be beyond the realm of one man's decision to be able to stop it. A review board of at least five well informed people should be established to address matters of this magnitude. Just one man's opinion." Cheers, Tom S. (Thank you Tom, not only a valid opinion but also a lesson of English and style. S.t.H.)
Save the Hubble Best Political Challenge of the Day:
(this IS a democratic site!)
" I believe there are two reasons the Bush administration wants to see the Hubble go away.
No. 1 The ultra-right wingers think the Hubble pictures contradict the bible. So, in typical fashion, they want it silenced.
No. 2 The Bush administration wants NASA used exclusively for both the further militarization of space as well as corporate exploitation. Not science.
We need to make sure it is this administration as well as these special interests that go away in November!!!!" Doug Tuttle Jacksonville, Florida
Save the Hubble Philosophical Quote of the Day:
"The hubble is our eyes to our creation. To remove our vision to our past and present is almost like saying "Isn't being blind just a wonderful way to live life"? Sending man to moon and mars is great if we had a trillion dollars sitting around just waiting to be spent. Save our future now." William Becker 4 Eva Circle Randolph, MA (We would sure need a hell of a cane!! S.t.H.)
Save the Hubble Direct Message of the Day of the Day:
In the words of Nike:
"Just do it"
Save the Hubble Idea of the Day:
"The Hubble can be serviced by the space shuttle by prepositioning an empty Russian capsule near the Hubble. The idea is to use the empty capsule as a life boat if necessary. This plan requires a minimum crew of three on the shuttle, cooperation from Russia and funding of an additional launch for the empty capsule. But it does offer a way to service the Hubble and still maintain the required margin for safety." Anonymous, The Hubble Project guestbook.
Save the Hubble Historical Message of the Day:
Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky;
Beneath it rung the battle shout,
And burst the cannon's roar:
The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more!
Her deck, once red with heroes' blood,
Where knelt the vanquished foe,
When winds were hurrying o'er the flood
And waves were white below,
No more shall feel the victor's tread,
Or know the conquered knee:
The harpies of the shore shall pluck
The eagle of the sea!
O better that her shattered hulk
Should sink beneath the wave!
Her thunders shook the mighty deep,
And there should be her grave:
Nail to the mast her holy flag,
Set every threadbare sail,
And give her to the god of storms,
The lightning and the gale!
Oliver Wendell Holmes, in 1830, on the proposed decommissioning and scrapping of
"Old Ironsides", the USS Constitution (still extant and commissioned).
(Sent by Tatiana Covington, thank you Tatiana - S.t.H.)
Save the Hubble Selected Links
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A few words from the webmaster
I had been following the news about Hubble for awhile when I read in the NY Times (01/17/04) that service mission 4 (SM4) had been cancelled and the telescope would be (literally) left to its own (failing) devices. That sounded so astonishingly absurd that I felt compelled to do something and decided put up a website to gather together whatever efforts could be harvested to help support HST. I hope it will slowly grow in importance and be a place for people to voice their concern and ideas to preserve this wonderful tool for knowledge. Thank you for your support!
Best regards, Fernando Ribeiro, Brazil.
(help with english mistakes welcome)
First uploaded in 01/26/2004
So far, more than 180.000 hits.
Check out the forum at => The Hubble Project