Happy Birthday Hubble Space Telescope! 🎂
It’s 30 years ago that the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was launched!
Launched into low Earth orbit on 24th April 1990 on Space Shuttle Discovery (during the STS-31 mission), HST remains in operation and is one of the largest and most versatile space telescopes. The Hubble telescope is named after astronomer Edwin Hubble.
Hubble is the only telescope designed to be maintained in space by astronauts. Five Space Shuttle missions have repaired, upgraded, and replaced systems on the telescope, including all five of the main instruments. The fifth mission was canceled on safety grounds following the Columbia disaster (2003), but NASA administrator approved the fifth servicing mission which was completed in 2009.
The telescope is operating as of 2020, and could last until 2030–2040. Its successor the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is scheduled to be launched in March 2021.
After a few years of problems and issues, notably the flawed mirror, Hubble started capturing amazing images. A selection of some of the most impressive can be found below.