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1. ## Hypothetical Hubble Rescue

Alright guys and gals, here's the situation. Despite being an engineer, I'm not up on orbital math like some of you, so this is mostly a "Can anyone tell if this is even within the realm of possibility?" type question. Enjoy. As we all know, or are learning now, the Hubble Space Telescope is in Low Earth Orbit at around 300 miles altitude. For reference the ISS is at about 250 miles. Hubble weighs about 24,500 lbs (11,110 kg) and is described as being 43x14 ft (13.2x4.2 meters) in size. What I propose as a possibility is the following: In short, utilize the Falcon Heavy as an unmanned recovery platform for the Hubble. The FH incidentally is 39.9 ft (12.2 m) in diameter. http://www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy I think the problem should be broken down into three aspects, the first is, regardless of HOW we go about attaching, securing, landing this whole thing together, does the FH have the dV to get up there to that orbit and land with that increased payload? The second is, can the FH carrying such a weight land at all? The third is, what sort of difficulties could we run into with the part where we attach and secure the Hubble to the FH? I've got a few random ideas on this, but do not take them as requirements for your solutions and proposals. First off, at current time how much effort, if any, is going into establishing a reusable 2nd stage rocket at SpaceX, is largely up for debate. I've heard reports that they are still working on it, others that say the effort has been shelved for the near term, etc. Given this, I posit that rather than attempting to use a system that doesn't exist yet (somewhat ironic of course, given that the FH has yet to fly, but it at least has prototypes under construction), we proceed along the lines of utilizing the FH without it's second stage rocket. Obviously this changes a lot of the equations a fair bit, that's for you all to discuss. I would state that the second stage is likely replaced by an extension to the main core of the FH, providing it with extra fuel for both the main rockets as well as the orbital maneuvering jets. Obviously any such system is going to need a some form of robotic arm/grappler, if only to help close up the satellite. For re-entry shielding purposes, I think one of NASAs deployable doughnut shields fit around the interface between the FH and the Hubble will suffice. Assorted possibilities to consider, if Hubble has any usable amount of propellant on board, it could be used to intentionally lower Hubble's orbit for the intercept with FH, thus reducing the dV requirements of the mission AND reducing Hubble's mass.
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