April 25, 1990 : Space telescope in orbit

Introduction

The crew of the U.S. space shuttle Discovery places the Hubble Space Telescope, a long-term space-based observatory, into a low orbit around Earth.

The space telescope, conceived in the 1940s, designed in the 1970s, and built in the 1980s, was designed to give astronomers an unparalleled view of the solar system, the galaxy, and the universe. Initially, Hubble’s operators suffered a setback when a lens aberration was discovered, but a repair mission by space-walking astronauts in December 1993 successfully fixed the problem, and Hubble began sending back its first breathtaking images of the universe.

Free of atmospheric distortions, Hubble has a resolution 10 times that of ground-based observatories. About the size of a bus, the telescope is solar-powered and orbits Earth once every 97 minutes. Among its many astronomical achievements, Hubble has been used to record a comet’s collision with Jupiter, provide a direct look at the surface of Pluto, view distant galaxies, gas clouds, and black holes, and see billions of years into the universe’s past.

Article Details:

April 25, 1990 : Space telescope in orbit

  • Author

    History.com Staff

  • Website Name

    History.com

  • Year Published

    2010

  • Title

    April 25, 1990 : Space telescope in orbit

  • URL

    http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/space-telescope-in-orbit

  • Access Date

    November 23, 2017

  • Publisher

    A+E Networks