Hubble Space Telescope inside KSC Visitor Complex

The Hubble Space Telescope is a space telescope that was launched into low Earth orbit in 1990 and is in operation to date.

It lifted from Kennedy Space Center and was deployed into space by Space Shuttle Discovery.

An exact replica of the telescope is located at the Shuttle: A Ship Like No Other mission zone, inside the KSC Visitor Complex.

The HST Theater allows visitors to take a close-up look at the configuration of Hubble and its solar arrays.

You can learn how Hubble has addressed some of the most fundamental mysteries about the universe and is still operating in space more than 25 years later.

What is the Hubble Space Telescope?

The Hubble Space Telescope is one of the largest and most versatile telescopes.

It has taken amazing pictures of space that help scientists study and learn more about the universe for deep space exploration.

The telescope was named after astronomer Edwin Hubble. It is one of  NASA’s great observatories.

Hubble Space Telescope Exhibit 

Hubble Space Telescope Exhibit 
Image: Space.com

An exact replica of the telescope hangs between two stories at the Space Shuttle Atlantis attraction.

The HST Theater provides a close-up look at the configuration of the telescope and its solar arrays.

It shares the story of the dedicated astronauts who fought tirelessly to save the telescope through five challenging service missions.

The theater provides insights into the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Visitors will know how Hubble answered some of the most basic questions about the universe.

And how it is still orbiting in space after 30 years of its deployment.

History of the Hubble Space Telescope:

The history of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is marked by the vision and determination of key individuals to overcome political and funding challenges.

In 1923, Hermann Oberth proposed the concept of a telescope in Earth orbit, setting the stage for the idea.

In 1946, Yale University professor Lyman Spitzer penned a paper titled “Astronomical Advantages of an Extra-Terrestrial Observatory,” aiming to support a space telescope.

After receiving backing from NASA, research on the requirements for constructing and sending a large telescope into space began.

After Spitzer’s paper was published, it took thirty-one years for Congress to endorse and provide funding for the program.

The project faced funding cuts in the 1970s, prompting a clever political move by NASA Administrator James C. Fletcher to energize the scientific community.

The construction of the HST involved intricate engineering challenges.

The spacecraft, designed for stability and accuracy, underwent various modifications.

Initially scheduled for 1986, the telescope’s launch was delayed due to the Challenger disaster.

Despite challenges, the Hubble Space Telescope was successfully launched in 1990 but wasn’t working properly because its optical mirror was the wrong size.

Over the next 19 years, space shuttle crews carried out five service missions to fix the initial problem and upgrade the telescope’s technology.

The last mission, conducted by the Atlantis crew, included installing the Soft Capture and Rendezvous System (SCRS).

To date, Hubble has made more than 1 million observations. It takes pictures that would be impossible to capture from Earth.

Why is the Hubble Space Telescope Important?

Why is the Hubble Space Telescope Important
Image: Science.nasa.gov

Hubble’s location outside Earth’s atmosphere allows it to capture high-resolution UV, visible, and near-infrared images, offering better views of celestial objects.

It has captured stunning images of distant galaxies, nebulae, and other celestial objects, providing a clearer view of the universe.

These detailed visible light images enable deep exploration, offering insights into distant galaxies and other cosmic phenomena.

Hubble played a crucial role in confirming that the universe is expanding. It helped scientists measure the expansion rate, known as the Hubble Constant.

It has observed the birth and death of stars, giving us a better understanding of their life cycle.

Hubble has located and studied supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies, helping scientists understand their role in galactic evolution.

The Hubble celebrated 30 years of existence in 2020. The Hubble’s extended operational life exceeds initial expectations, providing valuable data until at least 2030–2040.


What type of telescope is the Hubble Space Telescope?

The Hubble Space Telescope is located in low Earth orbit, designed to observe astronomical objects beyond Earth’s atmosphere.

When was the Hubble Space Telescope launched?

The Hubble Space Telescope was deployed into space by Space Shuttle Discovery on 24 April 1990 from Kennedy Space Center.

Where is the Hubble Space Telescope?

Currently, the Hubble Space Telescope is located in the Earth’s lower orbit.

Visitors can see an exact replica of the telescope at Shuttle: A Ship like no other mission zone at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

How far is the Hubble Space Telescope from Earth?

The Hubble Space Telescope orbits at an altitude of approximately 547 kilometers (about 340 miles) above Earth.

How does the Hubble Space Telescope work?

The Hubble Space Telescope works like a camera in space.

It has a big mirror that collects light from stars and galaxies. This light goes to special instruments that help scientists study space.

Hubble is powered by sunlight and sends its pictures and data back to Earth. Astronauts sometimes visit to fix and upgrade it.

Featured Image: KennedySpaceCenter.com

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