NASA Launches the Hubble Space Telescope (Great Events from History II: Science and Technology Series)
Article abstract: After twenty years of delays, the Hubble Space Telescope was placed in orbit around Earth by the space shuttle Discovery.
Summary of Event
When the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was successsfully placed in orbit, 612 kilometers above the earth by astronauts aboard the space shuttle Discovery, one excited astronomer remarked, “At last we are out of the ocean!” His statement summarizes the feelings of astronomers who have had to deal with the frustration caused by the interference of starlight by the earth’s atmosphere. No telescope can realize its full potential under 100 kilometers of boiling atmosphere which absorbs much of the visible starlight and particularly the astrophysically important ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths. In 1923, Hermann Oberth, a German rocket pioneer, proposed orbiting a telescope as the solution to peering through the ocean of air.
In 1962, a Large Space Telescope (LST), 305 centimeters in diameter, was proposed in the National Academy of Sciences’ report on the “Future of Space Science.” Ten years later, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) established the LST headquarters at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and appointed Charles Robert Odell as lead scientist for the LST project. In 1978, Congress approved the LST project but later changed the name to the Edwin Powell Hubble Space Telescope (HST)...
(The entire section is 1716 words.)
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