WASHINGTON, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- The U.S. space agency announced approval Tuesday for a fifth repair trip to the Hubble Space Telescope to extend and improve its capabilities through 2013.
"While there is an inherent risk in all spaceflight activities, the desire to preserve a truly international asset like the Hubble Space Telescope makes doing this mission the right course of action," said National Aeronautics and Space Administration Administrator Michael Griffin.
The flight is scheduled for launch during 2008. Mission planners are working to determine the best location and vehicle to utilize for the Hubble repair mission, while minimizing impact to the ongoing construction of the International Space Station.
Astronauts selected for the Hubble project are Scott Altman, who will command the final space shuttle mission to Hubble. Navy Reserve Capt. Gregory Johnson will serve as pilot. Astronauts on the repair flight will be veteran spacewalkers John Grunsfeld and Michael Massimino, along with first-time space fliers Andrew Feustel, Michael Good and K. Megan McArthur.
The Hubble Space Telescope is an international cooperative project between NASA and the European Space Agency.