"Hubble will live another day!"
WASHINGTON - Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) joined the staff at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. in celebrating NASA Administrator Michael Griffin's announcement that there will be a critical space shuttle mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope.
"This is a great day for Maryland, for America, but most of all, for science. Hubble is a national asset and a national priority," said Senator Mikulski. "Without question, Hubble has been the most successful NASA program since Apollo. And like Apollo, Hubble has helped America lead the way in discovery and exploration."
"This servicing mission will give Hubble new scientific instruments, new batteries and new gyroscopes, making Hubble far more powerful than it is today. Hubble's best and most productive period is ahead of it, not behind it," continued Senator Mikulski. "It is Hubble that started this 'Golden Age' of exploration and discovery, and it is Hubble that has become America's icon for exploration and discovery."
Senator Mikulski has a long record of supporting the Hubble Telescope, tracing back its entire 15 year life. After NASA announced it was terminating the servicing mission that was needed to extend the life of the Hubble, Senator Mikulski requested a second opinion and a National Academy of Sciences study.
As the senior Democrat on the Senate's Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations subcommittee, Senator Mikulski has consistently worked to provide funding in the federal budget for a Hubble servicing mission--adding $350 million over the past two years to the 2005 and 2006 CJS spending bills, respectively. During these two fiscal years, President Bush's budget did not include funding for a Hubble servicing mission.
"While experts were working on a second opinion, I was fighting for Hubble's budget. I knew that if the NASA Administrator said a shuttle mission was safe - because the safety of our astronauts must be our number one priority - NASA would need money in the federal checkbook for a Hubble servicing mission," said Senator Mikulski. "I promised to move heaven and earth to make sure the resources would be there. Hubble is too important to the world and to our country."
Source: Office of Senator Barbara Mikulski