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Overachieving Hubble mission gets five more years

Originally expected to serve until around 2005, the Hubble Space Telescope will be operational until at least June 30, 2021.

STS-82 Crew, STScI, NASA

The Hubble Space Telescope launched in 1990 and was originally expected to have a lifespan of just 15 years. It's far exceeded all expectations, and remains operational today, although it's most recent servicing mission, in 2009, was expected to be its last, with the James Webb Space Telescope slated for a launch in 2018.

Now the Hubble Space Telescope has been officially granted a reprieve. The orbital telescope will remain operational until at least June 30, 2021, and is expected to continue beyond that point, according to a post on the NASA website. It'll operate alongside the James Webb Space Telescope, which will specialize in infrared imaging.

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