NASA's chief agreed Thursday to review his decision to cancel the Hubble Space Telescope's final servicing mission and let it deteriorate and go out of operation. The decision comes after the space agency was bombarded by pleas to save the craft.
Without the servicing mission, which had been planned for 2006, the orbiting telescope is expected to stop working several years before its scheduled 2010 retirement.
The verdict seems final: NASA says it is just too risky for shuttle astronauts to fix the Hubble Space Telescope, which means an early death for the world's premier astronomical eye in the sky. But two reports by NASA engineers maintain it is no riskier to service the orbiting telescope than to use shuttle astronauts to finish building the International Space Station, which will require some 25 shuttle flights