Hubble space telescope prime contractor Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $123 million contract to prepare for the final servicing mission of the famous satellite that was launched in 1990.


The mission, to be conducted by Space Shuttle astronauts in Feburary 2004, will install new batteries, gyroscopes and an Aft Shroud Cooling System, which prevents heat building up in the telescope's instruments, enabling more to be used at once.

Hubble's remaining original Fine Guidance Sensor will be changed out on the fourth mission. Other sensors on the craft have been refurbished systematically and upgraded in "round-robin" fashion on previous Shuttle missions.

Lockheed will also be responsible for the integration of two new science instruments, the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph and the third Wide Field Camera.

Since its launch, the Hubble has become one of the most famous spacecraft in history, bringing into homes the wonders of the universe in a detail never possible before. Although Earth-based telescopes have become more powerful over the years, they have not matched Hubble's wide field of view, which gives us a more awe-inspiring vista of the stars.

Source: Flight Daily News