A Human-Machine Success Story

May 26, 2009

Servicing complete on Hubble Telescope – observatory equipped for final round of discoveries

HOUSTON, May 26 /PRNewswire/ — The Coalition for Space Exploration, the leading collaboration of space industry businesses and advocacy groups, announced today the release of a statement by board member Steve Hawley, a former astronaut on five space shuttle missions, two involving the deployment and servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope.

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In recent editorials to newspapers, Hawley expressed his enthusiasm regarding the culmination of NASA’s final refurbishing mission to the Hubble telescope, noting all that this observatory has told us about the history and construct of the cosmos. He remarked, “The Hubble Space Telescope has revolutionized our understanding of the universe with images unprecedented in scientific value. Part of Hubble’s fascinating story captures the challenges and rewards of maintaining and improving the observatory.”

Hawley cited several captivating discoveries made possible by this orbiting spacecraft, saying, “Among its most significant accomplishments, Hubble helped astronomers establish the universe’s age at 13.7 billion years and provided evidence for the existence of mysterious ‘dark energy,’ which is causing the expansion of our universe to accelerate.”

Hawley also stated, “One of the more famous Hubble images is a 10-day exposure of what we thought was an empty region of sky near the Big Dipper. This image, known as the ‘Hubble Deep Field,’ revealed an amazing number of galaxies, some having formed when the universe was very young. All of these accomplishments were enabled by the servicing missions and demonstrate the tremendously productive relationship between humans and machines conducting science in space.”

Exemplifying the importance of utilizing both state-of-the-art equipment and mankind’s resourcefulness, Hawley concluded, “When you witness the awe-inspiring Hubble repair mission with astronauts so delicately and skillfully working to extend Hubble’s life one last time, remember what this achievement represents – the unique synergy of human ingenuity and technological prowess that will serve the space program into the future.”

For Hawley’s complete comments, visit www.spacecoalition.com/Published_Op-eds.cfm.

About the Coalition for Space Exploration

The Coalition for Space Exploration is a group of space industry businesses and advocacy groups that collaborate to educate and inform the public and Congress on the value and benefits of space exploration and to help ensure the United States remains a leader in space, science and technology – key factors that benefit every American, strengthen our nation’s economy and maintain our national security.

SOURCE Coalition for Space Exploration

Source: newswire

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