NASA Extends Hubble Space Telescope Science Operations Contract

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's most iconic and popular image: the Eagle Nebula’s Pillars of Creation. This image shows the pillars as seen in visible light, capturing the multi-coloured glow of gas clouds, wispy tendrils of dark cosmic dust, and the rust-coloured elephants’ trunks of the nebula’s famous pillars. Image Credit: NASA, ESA/Hubble and the Hubble Heritage Team

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s most iconic and popular image: the Eagle Nebula’s Pillars of Creation. This image shows the pillars as seen in visible light, capturing the multi-coloured glow of gas clouds, wispy tendrils of dark cosmic dust, and the rust-coloured elephants’ trunks of the nebula’s famous pillars. Image Credit: NASA, ESA/Hubble and the Hubble Heritage Team

June 23, 2016 – NASA is contractually extending science operations for its Hubble Space Telescope an additional five years. The agency awarded a sole source contract extension Thursday to the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy for continued Hubble science operations support at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

This action will extend the period of performance from July 1 through June 30, 2021. The contract value will increase by approximately $196.3 million for a total contract value of $2.03 billion.

This contract extension covers the work necessary to continue the science program of the Hubble mission by the Space Telescope Science Institute. The support includes the products and services required to execute science system engineering, science ground system development, science operations, science research, grants management and public outreach support for Hubble and data archive support for missions in the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes.

After the final space shuttle servicing mission to the telescope in 2009, Hubble is better than ever. Hubble is expected to continue to provide valuable data into the 2020’s, securing its place in history as an outstanding general purpose observatory in areas ranging from our solar system to the distant universe.

In 2018, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will be launched into space as the premier observatory of the next decade, serving astronomers worldwide to build on Hubble’s legacy of discoveries and help unlock some of the biggest mysteries of the universe.

All of the instruments currently operating on Hubble Space Telescope were built by Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colorado. Ball is also responsible for all of the mirrors on the James Webb Space Telescope.

The Hubble Space Telescope, a joint ESA and NASA project, has made some of the most dramatic discoveries in the history of astronomy. From its vantage point 600 km above the Earth, Hubble can detect light with ‘eyes’ 5 times sharper than the best ground-based telescopes and looks deep into space where some of the most profound mysteries are still buried in the mists of time.