The Hubble Space Telescope got one last overhaul in May 2009 by NASA astronauts on the space shuttle Atlantis and has been sending home stunning new photos ever since. Seen here, the iconic space telescope orbits high above the Earth, after it was released at the close of the STS-125 servicing mission to once more gaze deep into the universe.

Hubble Space Telescope Could Last Until 2018, NASA Says

by Clara Moskowitz, SPACE Assistant Managing Editor
Date: 09 January 2013 Time: 07:30 AM ET

LONG BEACH, Calif. — NASA’s 23-year-old Hubble Space Telescope is still going strong, and agency officials said Tuesday (Jan. 8) they plan to operate it until its instruments finally give out, potentially for another six years at least.

After its final overhaul in 2009, the Hubble telescope was expected to last until at least 2015. Now, NASA officials say they are committed to keeping the iconic space observatory going as long as possible.

“Hubble will continue to operate as long as its systems are running well,” Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said here at the 221st meeting of the American Astronomical Society. Hubble, like other long-running NASA missions such as the Spitzer Space Telescope, will be reviewed every two years to ensure that the mission is continuing to provide science worth the cost of operating it, Hertz added.

In fact, Hubble supporters hope it will continue to run even after its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), is launched — an event planned for 2018.

Read more: Hubble Space Telescope Could Last Until 2018, NASA Says | Space.

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