Hubble Space Telescope
Launch Date Apr. 24, 1990
Launch Site Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA
Destination Our Solar System, Beyond Our Solar System
Type Orbiter
Status Successful—Extended Mission in Progress
Nation United States
Alternate Names Hubble, HST

Goals

The Hubble Space Telescope was designed to provide clear and deep views of distant galaxies and stars and most of the planets in our solar system. Hubble's domain extends from the ultraviolet, through the visible, and to the near-infrared.

Accomplishments

Lasting far beyond its planned lifetime, Hubble has had a major impact in every area of astronomy, from the solar system to objects at the edge of the universe. Results from the orbiting telescope are the backbone of more than 15,000 technical papers. It also, of course, continues to dazzle with stunning pictures of stars, galaxies and planets. The Hubble Deep Field image showing thousands of galaxies in a tiny speck of sky is one of the most memorable images in human history.

A few highlights: The orbiting telescope provided the first evidence our Universe is expanding more quickly than it has in the past. It made a more precise estimate of the age of universe (13 to 14 billion years old). And it helped scientists uncover the recipe for planets, reinforcing an assumption that planets are common in our universe and aiding in the search for Earthlike worlds.

Key Dates

Apr. 24, 1990: Launch

Apr. 25, 1990: Deployment by Space Shuttle Discovery

Spacecraft

Launch Vehicle: Space shuttle Discovery (STS-31)

Spacecraft Mass: 11,110 Kilograms

Spacecraft Instruments:

  1. ACS (Advanced Camera for Surveys)
  2. COSTAR (Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement)
  3. COS (Cosmic Origins Spectrograph)
  4. NICMOS (Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer)
  5. STIS (Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph)
  6. Wide Field Planetary Camera 3 (WFPC3)
  7. Fine Guidance Sensors (FGS)

Additional Resources

NASA: Hubble
Space Science Telescope Institute: Hubble
National Space Science Data Center Master Catalog: Hubble

Selected References

Siddiqi, Asif A. Deep Space Chronicle: A Chronology of Deep Space and Planetary Probes 1958-2000, NASA, 2002.

Hubble Space Telescope News