to full operations after its last servicing mission?
The Hubble Space Telescope is a powerful tool used by astronomers to observe the universe. However, Hubble undergoes periodic servicing to ensure that it continues to operate at its optimal performance. The most recent servicing mission took place in 2009, after which Hubble was not fully operational until a few months later. The question remains, when did the Hubble Space Telescope return to full operations after its last servicing mission?
The Launch of Hubble Space Telescope
The Hubble Space Telescope was launched on April 24, 1990, aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. It was named after the famous astronomer Edwin Hubble, who made groundbreaking discoveries about the universe. The Hubble Space Telescope was a joint project between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). This telescope was designed to take high-resolution images and measurements of space objects, including planets, stars, and galaxies.
The Flawed Mirror
The Hubble Space Telescope’s primary mirror was flawed, which caused the images to be blurry. The problem was identified shortly after the launch. NASA and the ESA worked together to find a solution to fix the mirror. The solution was to send a crew to the telescope to install corrective optics. In December 1993, the first servicing mission was launched, and the telescope was fixed.
The Return of Hubble Space Telescope
The Hubble Space Telescope has been an essential tool for studying the universe. It has provided astronomers with some of the most spectacular images ever taken of space objects. However, the telescope has experienced some technical problems over the years. The Hubble Space Telescope was serviced five times by space shuttle crews between 1993 and 2009.
The Final Servicing Mission
The final servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope was launched on May 11, 2009, aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis. This mission was designed to extend the lifespan of the telescope and to upgrade its instruments. The mission was a success, and the telescope was returned to space on May 19, 2009. The upgrades made to the telescope have allowed it to continue to be a valuable tool for astronomers.
The Achievements of Hubble Space Telescope
The Hubble Space Telescope has been in space for over three decades and has made significant contributions to our understanding of the universe. Some of the most notable achievements of the Hubble Space Telescope include:
The Discovery of Dark Energy
The Hubble Space Telescope played a vital role in the discovery of dark energy. Dark energy is a mysterious force that is causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate. The telescope was used to observe supernovae in distant galaxies, which led to the discovery of dark energy.
The Observation of Exoplanets
The Hubble Space Telescope has been used to observe exoplanets, which are planets outside of our solar system. The telescope has been able to detect the atmospheres of some of these exoplanets, which has provided astronomers with valuable information about these planets.
The Mapping of the Universe
The Hubble Space Telescope has been used to create detailed maps of the universe. These maps have allowed astronomers to study the structure and evolution of the universe.
The Observation of the Birth and Death of Stars
The Hubble Space Telescope has been used to observe the birth and death of stars. The telescope has captured stunning images of nebulae, which are clouds of gas and dust where new stars are born. The telescope has also observed the explosions of stars, known as supernovae.
The Study of Black Holes
The Hubble Space Telescope has been used to study black holes, which are some of the most mysterious and fascinating objects in the universe. The telescope has been able to observe the effects of black holes on nearby stars and galaxies.
FAQs – When did the Hubble Space Telescope return?
When did the Hubble Space Telescope return from its last servicing mission?
The Hubble Space Telescope’s last servicing mission, SM4, also known as the Hubble Servicing Mission 4 or STS-125, was launched on May 11, 2009, by the Space Shuttle Atlantis. The mission lasted for 12 days, during which the telescope received upgrades and repairs such as the installation of new instruments, replacement of batteries and gyroscopes, and a new science data processing unit. The mission was a success, and the Space Shuttle Atlantis landed safely back on Earth on May 24, 2009.
When did the Hubble Space Telescope last leave Earth’s orbit?
The Hubble Space Telescope was deployed to orbit on April 24, 1990, aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery during the STS-31 mission. Since then, the telescope has been in continuous operation, orbiting the Earth every 97 minutes, at an altitude of about 560 kilometers above the surface. The telescope has undergone several servicing missions to upgrade its instruments and maintain its functionality, but it has always remained in orbit around the Earth.
When will the Hubble Space Telescope be retired?
While there are no concrete plans yet for the retirement of the Hubble Space Telescope, its operational lifespan is inevitably coming to an end. Aging equipment, the inability to repair or upgrade certain components, and the launch of newer and more advanced telescopes such as the James Webb Space Telescope, pose challenges to its continued operation. NASA expects the telescope to continue operating for at least a few more years, with the final decision about its retirement depending on the telescope’s condition and performance.