NASA says it has extended the contract for operating the Hubble Space Telescope.
The telescope is operated by the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. The space agency says the three-year contract extension is worth an estimated $76 million and runs through April 2016. The institute serves as the science operations center for the Hubble and will be the science and mission operations center for the James Webb Space Telescope after its launch.
The Hubble Space Telescope was launched in 1990 and shuttle astronauts repaired the aging space telescope in 2009 during a series of space walks. That mission was expected to extend the telescope's life another five to 10 years.
The telescope has been one of the space program's proudest achievements, providing breathtaking pictures of distant galaxies.