In 1946, Lyman Spitzer, a professor and researcher at Yale University, argued that a space telescope would offer great advantages over ground-based observatories. > Scale of the Cosmos > Cosmic Connections | AMNH Since the flaw in the telescope’s primary mirror was well understood, it was recognised that a set of carefully designed corrective optics – Hubble’s $50 million ‘spectacles’, the media jokingly named them – should be enough to rejuvenate its vision. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google, Characterizing Planets Around Other Stars, Four Successful Women Behind the Hubble Space Telescope's Achievements. Perkin-Elmer – the optics contractor about whom NASA harboured such misgivings a decade earlier – had removed too much glass and polished it too flat. Hubble’s spectrographs were less severely affected because they needed less focused light, but the wobbling solar arrays virtually crippled the HSP. The telescope tracked an equatorial white spot on Saturn and analysed albedo variations on the surfaces of Pluto and its large companion, Charon. Hubble was always intended to be maintained. Hubble is reflector telescope of cassegrain type. The Shuttle had proved its mettle as a highly capable spacecraft, but correcting the space telescope’s flawed optics would stretch that capability to its limits. Barbara Mikulski, the Democratic senator for Hubble’s home state of Maryland, was livid. “There wasn’t anybody that was chilling down on the middeck,” he told an interviewer. And since the booms only stabilised just prior to sunset, Hubble could point itself accurately for barely a fraction of each orbit. Kathy Sullivan and Bruce McCandless knew the telescope was a priceless national asset and helped to build the tools to service it. In time, she would become one of the space telescope’s staunchest proponents, but in July 1990 her stinging words spoke instead of a “techno-turkey” and a waste of taxpayers’ money. By 1991, Freedom came within one congressional vote of cancellation. Planck measured the sizes of the ripples in this Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) that were produced by slight irregularities in the temperatures and densities in the early universe. around the world. As the universe expanded, it became vastly larger and dramatically cooler. Marking 3 decades of the famous telescope. Orbit. However, there was a silver lining. Our special issue Hubble: 30 Years of Discovery is out now. “Yeah, you and the rest of the office!”. The Earth is 150 million km from the Sun and the moon orbits the earth at a distance of approximately 384,500 km. The telescope revealed that the Large Magellanic Cloud – one of our nearest galactic neighbours – resides 169,000 lightyears away. Hubble recorded the most distant galaxy ever seen (10 billion lightyears away) and, though hamstrung by spherical aberration, it could still see luminous ‘knots’ of gas and dust at its primordial core with a resolution 10 times finer than ground-based instruments on Earth. The NASA Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA. How long would it take a space probe to reach the farthest star in our solar system? Hoffman was one of them – and an astronomer to boot. STS-61 would last 11 days with a record-setting five spacewalks. With four spaceflights under his belt, a long-time association with Hubble and a veteran of the first Shuttle spacewalk, he was an obvious pick. By early 1992, thousands of observations of hundreds of celestial objects had been made and a quarter of all papers presented to the American Astronomical Society used Hubble results. Keeping it functional and up to date with technological change enabled NASA to sell it to Congress. By knowing its exact shape, appropriate steps could be taken to fix it and, in 1991, Ball Aerospace began building a set of corrective optics. Possibilities include the strength of dark matter, the repulsive force of dark energy being even more exotic than previously thought or an unknown new particle in the tapestry of space. By studying the local universe, they’re measuring the recent rate of the universe’s expansion. Next day, Thornton and Akers replaced the twin solar arrays. All five servicing missions between 1993 and 2009 endured their fair share of difficulty. Hubble servicing flights would demand at least 4 spacewalks, twice as many as had ever been done by the Shuttle. For the highly competitive astronaut corps, a seat on STS-61 was a plum assignment, coveted by all. Spherical aberration proved very bad news for the WFPC and FOC instruments, which suffered poor spatial resolution and an impaired ability to see distant objects. Plans to build Space Station Freedom were over budget, behind schedule and forever sitting on a knife-edge of cancellation. NASA wanted the crew – 4 spacewalkers, robot arm operator, commander and pilot – to be experienced astronauts. A year later, the Moon-Mars plan breathed its last. For much of 1990, the Shuttle fleet was grounded by fuel leaks. About 13.8 billion years ago, the universe sprang into existence in an event known as the big bang. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center had a bad press in 1990. Late-night television talk-show hosts were even more scathing; David Letterman compiled a list of top 10 Hubble excuses. With 16 previous Shuttle flights between them, they were the most experienced crew yet assembled. And on the final Hubble visit, STS-125 in May 2009, a stubborn-to-remove handrail, stripped screws and troublesome power tools provided a stark reminder – if one was ever needed – that spaceflight is never routine. President Bill Clinton informed Goldin that if the repair failed, NASA would be restructured. Future US vice president Al Gore agreed that Hubble had turned from a scientific marvel into tangible proof of NASA’s quality-control failings. Although this carried safety implications for the crew, it was triggered by air venting from the Shuttle’s airlock and the spacewalks proceeded without incident.