The SuperBIT balloon telescope could help replace Hubble’s observations

Can the The SuperBIT Balloon Telescope replace some of the Hubble Space Telescopes observations? The answer apparently is yes. Credit: Canadian Space Agency.

While the Hubble Space Telescope is back to full science operations after a computer glitch sidelined it for weeks, the pioneering 31-year-old observatory won't last forever in space. Most of the attention about "successors" falls on the $8 billion USD ($10 billion CAD) NASA James Webb Space Telescope, which may launch this year with Canadian technology to a Lagrange point.

But cheaper alternatives are emerging, too. A Canadian-funded astronomical telescope called SuperBIT (Superpressure Balloon-borne Imaging Telescope) is expected to make its first operational high-altitude flight on a balloon in April 2022, obtaining high-resolution images at 40 km – above most of Earth's atmosphere. 

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About Elizabeth Howell

Is SpaceQ's Associate Editor as well as a business and science reporter, researcher and consultant. She recently received her Ph.D. from the University of North Dakota and is communications Instructor instructor at Algonquin College.