Posted: Dec 26, 2021 7:52 pm
by Calilasseia
I suspect not. It only has enough fuel for a one way trip to L2, and for mid-mission corrections. A return to LEO isn't part of the mission planning. The big problem with a return to LEO being, of course, that the cold side of the instrument will warm up again, and all the fun and games of cooling and recalibration will have to be endured once the instrument returns to L2 a second time.

Indeed, despite the cost overruns of the original instrument, now that we know how to build one, it would probably be easier to have 3 or 4 replacement instruments on standby (with all the advantages of reducing unit cost), and simply send up a replacement instrument when the original finally stops working. Whether anyone will have the sense to follow this thinking, however, remains to be seen. Though if this course of action is taken, ensuring that the replacement instrument doesn't come into contact with the dead one will concentrate minds wonderfully as well. :)