Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hubble launched 20 years ago today from KSC

NASA today celebrates the 20th anniversary of the of the Hubble Space Telescope's launch from Kennedy Space Center.

Piloted by current NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, Discovery blasted off at 8:34 a.m. on April 24, 1990, as Columbia sat on the neighboring shuttle launch pad.

The 43.5-foot long, nearly 25,000-pound observatory was deployed a day later. Scientists soon discovered the telescope's mirror was misshapen by a minuscule amount, rendering it a bust.

Hubble's legendary observations and images began after the first of five servicing missions in 1993, which corrected the "spherical aberration." Atlantis astronauts last year performed the final planned servicing mission, expected to extend Hubble's life at least another five years.

Google is celebrating the anniversary with its home page art today.

And check out this NASA Hubble Anniversary VIDEO on You Tube. It features Florida Today Kennedy Space Center Bureau Chief Todd Halvorson.

IMAGE: Above, Columbia on pad 39A during the picture-perfect ascent of sister ship Discovery after lift off of STS-31 on April 24, 1990. This was the first time since January 1986 that there was a shuttle on each pad, which are separated by 1.6 miles. Discovery, carrying a five-member crew and the Hubble Space Telescope, lifted off at 8:34 a.m. EDT. Credit: NASA. Below: The Cat's Eye Nebula's Intricate Layers, credit:


Conor said...

If it wasn't for the Shuttle and its capability of servicing Hubble in orbit, we wouldn't be marking this anniversary. I can't believe we're grounding a vehicle with the Shuttle's abilities.

Mark Lopa said...

I feel the same way, Conor. What a step backwards we're talking. Geez...pre-Mercury for crying out loud.