Friday, August 10, 2012


This flying cosmic telescope completes one orbit around the Earth every 96 minutes. Its speed is approximately five miles per second.

Believe it or not, but a solid gold pin is attached to the floating space observatory. Some estimates of Hubble's total cost (including construction, deployment, servicing, and continued operation) reach as high as $10 billion -- and you can chalk some of that up to a gold pin strapped to the spacecraft. Hubble's gold ornament was used to help anchor the telescope in the space shuttle's cargo bay for its April 1990 launch. 

The farthest objects Hubble has seen? Galaxies forming when the universe, which formed about 13.7 billion years ago, was about 700 million years old. With a new camera and other major upgrades planned for Hubble's final servicing mission, astronomers hope to push that clock back to about 500 million years old. *Note : I'll post the pic in next post.*

Hubble was temporarily knocked out of commission in 1999, preventing its capture of any breath-taking images for more than a month. The intermittent shutdown went into effect when four out of six of its gyroscopes failed, leaving the observatory without an accurate pointing system.

When NASA launched the Hubble Space Telescope in April 1990, they soon discovered it beamed back only blurry images. Why? It's massive 48-square-foot mirror was flawed. The telescope was restored to its intended quality by a servicing mission in 1993.

Hundreds of tools have been developed by NASA over the years for spacewalking astronauts to work on Hubble. Among the devices debuting during the final servicing call: the deceptively named Mini Power Tool. This mini power tool was specially designed to fit into tight corners.

Putting a 24,500-pound telescope into space isn't cheap, especially, when it needs the occasional repair. According to all-inclusive estimates, NASA has spent around $10 billion to build, launch, operate and service the telescope over the past 22 years.

The first color picture from Hubble, released in August 1990, was actually a hand-colored black-and-white digital photograph. Although the tints did correspond to true emissions of the ring around Supernova 1987A, Hubble actually didn't have a multi-color filter pointed at the target.

The Hubble Space Telescope has won two Space Achievement Awards from the Space Foundation for its outreach activities, in 2001 and 2010.

There is a replica of the Hubble Telescope on the courthouse lawn in Marshfield, Missouri, the hometown of namesake Edwin P. Hubble.

The telescope is now expected to function until at least 2014. Its scientific successor, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), is to be launched in 2018 or possibly later.