On April 24, 1990 the Space Shuttle Discovery launched with a crew of five astronauts whose primary mission on STS-31 was the deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope.
Little did they know that the telescope’s main mirror had a flaw that would set in motion a series of future missions to fix and upgrade the telescope. The results have been spectacular. NASA has called the orbiting observatory the “Incredible Discovery Machine.”
The Hubble Space Telescope is a collaboration between NASA and ESA and as it turns 30 it’s nearing the end of its mission. The observations Hubble makes are in visible, infrared and ultraviolet light.
ESA: 30 Years of Science with the Hubble Space Telescope
The observations by scientist using the telescope have led to new discoveries and brought insights into the age and expansion of the universe, black holes, supernova, the mass and size of our galaxy, the solar system and more.
While Hubble’s mission will be coming to and end, it does have a successor which will launch next year. The new super observatory is the James Webb Space Telescope.
Below is a documentary by NASA on the story and history of the great observatory. The second video is discussion about Hubble on this milestone hosted by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and includes Canadian historian Chris Gainor who is the author of a forthcoming NASA book on Hubble.