The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) formed July 29th 1958, is an independent agency of the executive branch of the United States federal government responsible for the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope was launched April 24, 1990, on the space shuttle Discovery from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Hubble has made more than 1.3 million observations since its mission began in 1990.
Astronomers using Hubble data have published more than 14,000 scientific papers, making it one of the most productive scientific instruments ever built.
Hubble does not travel to stars, planets or galaxies. It takes pictures of them as it whirls around Earth at about 17,000 mph.
Hubble has traveled more than 4 billion miles along a circular low Earth orbit currently about 340 miles in altitude.
Hubble has no thrusters. To change pointing angles, it uses Newton’s third law by spinning its wheels in the opposite direction. It turns at about the speed of a minute hand on a clock, taking 15 minutes to turn 90 degrees.
Hubble has the pointing accuracy of .007 arc seconds, which is like being able to shine a laser beam focused on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s head on a dime roughly 200 miles away.
Outside the haze of our atmosphere, Hubble can see astronomical objects with an angular size of 0.05 arc seconds, which is like seeing a pair of fireflies in Tokyo from your home in Maryland.
Hubble has peered back into the very distant past, to locations more than 13.4 billion light years from Earth.
The Hubble archive contains more than 140 terabytes, and Hubble science data processing generates about 10 terabytes of new archive data per year.
Hubble weighed about 24,000 pounds at launch and currently weighs about 27,000 pounds following the final servicing mission in 2009 – on the order of two full-grown African elephants.