Slug: happy-birthday-hubble Date: 2008-04-26 Title: Happy Birthday Hubble! layout: post

18 years ago today, in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was launched into orbit on the Space Shuttle Discovery.

>the most sophisticated optical observatory ever placed into orbit around the Earth… After the U.S. Congress had authorized its construction in 1977, the Hubble Space Telescope was built under the supervision of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States and was named after Edwin Hubble, the foremost American astronomer of the 20th century. The HST was placed into orbit about 600 km (370 miles) above the Earth by the crew of the space shuttle Discovery on April 25, 1990.

Of course, it then nearly immediately needed corrective surgery:

About one month after launch, it became apparent that the HST’s large primary mirror had been ground to the wrong shape owing to faulty testing procedures by the mirror’s manufacturer.

(Via The Encyclopedia Britannica’s new free-to-bloggers-and-their-readers program, Image courtesy of HubbleSite)