NASA will soon celebrate 25 years of one of its most formidable tools: the Hubble space telescope. It was only supposed to operate for 15 years when it was launched, and yet, after 25 years in space, the telescope continues to offer us a breathtaking view of space.
Hubble is an 11-ton telescope, placed in orbit on April 24, 1990 during mission STS-31 by the space shuttle Discovery. And all does not happen immediately as expected, the problems being linked around various modules of the tool. Various problems put it in sleep mode when trying to move some of its instruments.
Worse still: the first pictures taken are very vague, and its main mirror, 2.4 meters in diameter, presents a spherical aberration. As a result, Hubble is less efficient than telescopes located on Earth, which forces NASA to launch a handling operation in 1993. Finally, several maintenance missions follow one another until 2009 and Hubble becomes the long-awaited instrument by the US space agency.
Currently, Hubble remains the telescope offering the best possible image definition, and this is mainly due to its position: at more than 550 km altitude, it is not disturbed by light pollution, clouds or the atmosphere. .
Despite everything, it should be dethroned in 2018 with the launch of the James Webb Telescope. In the meantime, Hubble continues to offer us a new look at distant space.