VIDEO SERIES: Hubble Telescope Celebrates 25th Anniversary

By  //  January 22, 2015

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First servicing mission occurred Dec. 2-13, 1993

ABOVE VIDEO: For the past 25 years Hubble has transformed our view of the universe, and this is the first of a the 13-part video series that will showcase the Hubble Space Telescope as it’s never been seen before. This segment takes a look at the state of astronomy before Hubble and the difficulties of observing from the ground that drove the need for a space telescope. Astronomers instrumental in the Hubble project in the 60s and 70s reflect on how the design of the telescope was forced to evolve because methods used by ground-based observatories weren’t practical in space.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – On April 24, 1990, the space shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center LC-39,  with the Hubble Space Telescope nestled securely in its bay.

The following day, Hubble was released into space, ready to peer into the vast unknown.

Since then, Hubble has reinvigorated and reshaped our perception of the cosmos and uncovered a universe where almost anything seems possible within the laws of physics.

Hubble has revealed properties of space and time that for most of human history were only probed in the imaginations of scientists and philosophers alike.

Today, Hubble continues to provide views of cosmic wonders never before seen and is at the forefront of many new discoveries.

Shortly after Hubble was deployed in 1990, the observatory’s primary mirror was discovered to have a flaw that affected the clarity of the telescope’s early images.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. ( NASA image )

Astronauts repaired Hubble in December 1993. Including that trip, there have been five astronaut servicing missions to Hubble. The first servicing mission occurred Dec. 2-13, 1993.

Subsequent servicing missions occurred on Feb. 11-21, 1997; Dec.19-27, 1999; March 1-12, 2002; and May 11-24, 2009.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency.

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NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Md., conducts Hubble science operations.

STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington, DC.