Science Information

Servicing Missions to the Hubble Space Telescope


The Hubble Space Telescope received its first Service Mission in December 1993. The missions most important objective was to install two devices to fix the Hubble Telescope's vision problem . The space telescope could not focus all the light from an object to a single sharp point because Hubble's primary mirror was incorrectly shaped. Instead it saw a fuzzy halo around objects it observed in space.

Interesting facts about Hubble Space Telescope is there is no question that the Hubble Telescope gave us amazing pictures and views of very early distant galaxies. But because the universe is expanding, the light from the most distant space galaxies is shifted to infrared wavelengths. So to see the galaxies the Hubble neede to be fitted with an instrument that could observe infrared light.

In Feb. 1997 the Hubble Telescope received its Second Servicing Mission. The space shuttle Discovery was boarded by seven astronauts. They installed two technologically advanced instruments, onto the Hubble. To observe space objects in infrared wavelengths the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer was installed. The second instrument installed was the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph, which is used to take detailed pictures of celestial objects and hunt for black holes.

Service Mission 3A in December 1999 was a busy one for the space telescope. Their goal was the replacement of gyroscopes, which accurately point the Hubble at celestial targets. The crew replaced all six gyroscopes as well as one of Hubble's three fine guidance sensors, which allow fine pointing and keep Hubble stable during space observations.

Service Mission B for the Hubble Telescope occurred on March 1st 2002 when NASA launched the space shuttle Columbia, where its seven member crew met with Hubble to perform a series of upgrades. The astronauts performed five spacewalks. Their mission was to install the Advanced Camera for Surveys. The ACS doubled Hubble's field of view and collects data ten times faster than before.

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Jeremy Hier is the Business Manager and Webmaster of Best Telescope Guides Jeremy Hier is a freelance writer and regular contributer He likes to offer his advice and tips to consumers looking to purchase meade telescopes and celestron telescopes


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