Originally Posted by Aliens What went wrong with the Hubble Space Telescope
Thanks to Gary’s comments about the Hubble failure, I was curious to see if other engineers held the same view and came across this article. What a great, and I think a must read for any enthusiast. Also, Charlie Pellerin is a great storyteller.
With a project that exceeded the budget by 4X, and then to have the lens failure upon launch; I can see why an engineer would not be happy. However, I think scientists would have a different perspective.
Although that WAS a good read, it omits a couple of major screw-ups that I read about in IEEE Spectrum
1) The mirror sub-contractor Perkin-Elmer went over-budget grinding the mirror incorrectly - which was described in detail - then decided that a full mechanical mock-up of all the optical elements was not necessary - which would have cost a few million more, but would also have uncovered the flawed mirror.
2) The scientific goals for Hubble were repeatedly scaled back because 1) 3 years 8 months of the usefull service life were wasted awaiting repair, 2) live instruments had to be removed permanently to insert the corrective optics, scratching all related experiments and 3) the corrective lenses had light losses which extended exposure times on the early cameras and again reduced the number of exposures taken.
Then, in spite of the Challenger
loss and the troubled Hubble, NASA decided to fly Columbia
back to Earth with a gaping hole in the wing. Prior to that, they made a very bad decision not to spacewalk and inspect just how bad the damage was, with the excuse that there was "No way to repair" the hole! The partially completed ISS only had one "lifeboat" Soyuz available at that time, but it would have accomodated four Columbia
crew members in a pinch, and the other three could have waited on the ISS for the next Soyuz. Lastly, the next shuttle in the queue (Atlantis
) could have been launched up to five days before Columbia ran out of consumables, had no major delays occurred in flight preparation.
All bad decisions made by what amounted to politicians.