Telescope Nerd » Space Telescopes » The History of The Hubble Telescope

The History of The Hubble Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope was designed by NASA in the 1940s. After nearly 50 years of planning, the telescope was launched into orbit on April 24, 1990. This telescope has made over 1.3 million observations to collect data on the expansion, age and composition of our universe.

History of the Hubble Space Telescope

NASA began designing the Hubble Space Telescope, initially called the Large Space Telescope, in the 1940s. In 1977, an increase in funding from NASA and the ESA propelled this project into existence. It was then renamed after Edwin Powell Hubble, who discovered the constant expansion of the universe. He initially hypothesized that it expanded at a decreasing rate, which the Hubble Telescope later proved the opposite.

When Was the Hubble Telescope Built?

The construction of the 2.4-meter precision-ground mirror was completed in 1981. The full telescope was completed in 1985.  The Hubble Space Telescope has been serviced five times since its deployment, and is still functional to this day.

Who Built the Hubble Space Telescope?

The Hubble Space telescope was manufactured by Lockheed Martin. After the US Congress authorized the construction in 1977, NASA and the ESA quickly set their designs into motion in Sunnyvale California.

When Was the Hubble Telescope Launched?

The Hubble Telescope was launched in 1990. It was initially supposed to be launched in 1986, but was postponed due to the Challenger disaster. The telescope was launched into orbit seven years later and $2 billion over budget.

What Has the Hubble Space Telescope Discovered?

The Hubble Space Telescope has discovered celestial bodies, dark energy and new concepts within our universe. This telescope uses UV, optical, and near-infrared wavelengths to make observations. These observations helped astronomers estimate that the universe is 13.8 billion years old, which has proven helpful in countless projections within the cosmos. Beyond the calculations Hubble has made, its also discovered never-seen-before celestial bodies. This includes the moons of Pluto, dubbed Nix and Hydra.

What Did the Hubble Telescope Discover about Dark Energy?

Hubble helped scientists understand dark energy, which lets us to quantify the rate at which the universe is expanding. This rate was calculated to be roughly 73 kilometers per second per megaparsec, which is over 163,000 miles per hour.

How Has the Hubble Space Telescope Impacted History?

While The Hubble Space Telescope wasn’t the first space observatory, its discoveries have proven influential in the development of space exploration. The most ground-breaking of these was characterizing dark energy, which has helped us understand the age and expansion of our universe. This telescope paved the way for the James Webb Telescope, which was launched in 2021.