Hubble focus is unchanged

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NASA is not planning changes to its September 2008 Space Shuttle mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope despite the unexpected failure of the orbiting observatory's main camera on 27 January.

The Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), used for about 70% of the telescope's observations, stopped functioning when the power feed to its electronics package failed, NASA believes. The ACS had been operating on its back-up power distribution system since an electrical failure in June 2006.

"We do not see a desire or need for any change to the plans for [servicing mission] SM-4," says Hubble programme manager Preston Burch. The inaccessible location of the ACS main electronics box, and the full schedule of spacewalks planned for the mission, makes it unlikely NASA will change its plans, he says, adding: "There is not much opportunity to accelerate SM-4."

 
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Hubble on the payload bay of Columbia during servicing mission 39B