Space enthusiasts everywhere are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope. And it is with good reason. On this day that marks the 25th anniversary of the landing of Shuttle mission STS-31 that delivered HST to orbit, I wish to share a few thoughts and links that make this anniversary special to me.
A few years ago I reflected on how each of the Shuttle missions associated with HST served as a “signpost” to various stages of my career at NASA. Those words from the past are just as relevant today.
Another retrospective is via an interview with Bill Reeves, who served as the Lead Flight Director for Shuttle mission STS-31 that delivered HST to orbit. I had the pleasure of working with Bill in later years before he retired, and his words of reflection on HST illustrate the deeply insightful person that he was at that time, and still is today.
Earthquakes and Compassion: Houston Matters (Bill’s retrospective is from 16:10 to 25:00)
Once Hubble was on orbit, we all knew what happened. Its vision was blurry. The next link recounts the race to save Hubble and its reputation, via an interview with Ed Weiler, who was Hubble Chief Scientist at the time. I later met Ed on two occasions – the first when he was the Associate Administrator of the Office of Space Science at NASA Headquarters, and later when he was the Director of the Goddard Space Flight Center. He’s an interesting fellow with interesting views, some of which are hinted at in this story.
Perhaps the greatest success of Hubble goes beyond the telescope itself. In one way, HST is the perfect example of the blending of art and science. It is the powerful, insightful images from a scientific standpoint coupled with astonishing beauty that strikes a chord with me. Here are some of HST’s most incredible images.
Lastly, in looking outward, HST permits us to look inward. The images of astronauts servicing Hubble on several occasions demonstrate how NASA’s scientific and human endeavors can work together. Beyond that, Hubble has allowed us to learn our place in the universe. For me, the next story brings this to life.
And so, on this 25th anniversary, I salute the Hubble Space Telescope once again for being a special part of my space life, and the space life of the rest of us. Cheers!
Oh, and wait until you see what’s next…