Mounting a 'scope on the ISS

  • Thread starter Phobos
  • Start date


Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
I was wondering about this yesterday. Granted, it would not be as good as the other ones currently in operation (less ability to aim, glare from the ISS, etc.), but it seems like it would be a relatively easy add-on (the platform, launch vehicles, and maintenance crew are already in place) to take advantage of atmospheric-less viewing (providing the ISS project could squeeze in the time & resources).

I googled and found this today... ...which is a group planning to do just that.

What do y'all think?


Science Advisor
Gold Member
I would guess that vibrations from the ISS, and wobbles induced into the ISS by the movement of the astronauts inside would hamper the ability to precisely aim and stabalize the telescope.

Instead, we could place a space telescope in the same orbital plane as the ISS. Then a trip from the ISS to the telescope would not require much fuel, and astronauts on a servicing mission would have the ISS as their safe-haven if need be.


Science Advisor
Gold Member
Seems like a good idea, at least economically. Since we will be visiting the ISS anyhow, the instrument would get a pretty cheap ride. I like the idea of a 'scope on a rope' tethered to and remotely operated from the station. Conceivably, the thing could be retrieved for servicing using the robotic arm of the shuttle. The shuttle bay, once emptied of station supplies, is pretty spacious. The work could perhaps be done in orbit and the instrument returned to duty, or brought back to earth if it can't be done in orbit. I don't think the engineering required would be terribly difficult or costly. The instrument wouldn't be the size of the HST, but versatile and large enough to be worth the fairly modest amount of extra trouble.

Want to reply to this thread?

"Mounting a 'scope on the ISS" You must log in or register to reply here.

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving