In a press conference held at 5:30 pm E.T. on Sept. 29 NASA and SpaceX announced the possibility of using a Dragon spacecraft to boost the orbit of the Hubble Space Telescope. They will conduct a study on the feasibility about this potential mission, along with possibly servicing the space telescope as well.
The Hubble Space Telescope launched in April of 1990 and is still working flawlessly today thanks in part by five different missions to service the telescope between 1993 and 2009. Polaris Dawn, the next commercial astronaut mission for SpaceX is currently scheduled for March of 2023. This mission is planned for the crew to spend five days in orbit and reach a maximum altitude of around 870 miles, taking them further than any human has ever gone from Earth since the days of Apollo. It will also feature the first ever commercial spacewalk.
Polaris Dawn is the first of three planned flights in the Polaris program, lead by Jared Isaacman, the billionaire that launched the Inspiration 4 mission last year. Few details have yet to be released about the missions, especially the second two but we presume the second flight will be on a Dragon and the third on SpaceX’s Starship. The question remains, will NASA let a commercial crew touch one of the most expensive, iconic, important items humans have placed in space? At this point it seems quite possible, as NASA needs the telescope boosted to maintain a longer life in orbit and SpaceX is saying this would come at no cost to tax payers.