Monday, December 2, 2013

Back in the Day: Shuttle Flight STS-61

Space shuttle Endeavour launches from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on flight STS-61, on December 2, 1993.

Today marks 20 years since space shuttle Endeavour launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to embark on the very first Hubble Space Telescope (HST) servicing mission. The almost-11-day flight was an astounding success...with HST not only receiving new science instruments such as Wide Field Planetary Camera 2, but also had its blurred vision (due to Hubble's flawed primary mirror) fixed with the installation of the Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement device, or COSTAR. Many more servicing flights to HST would come along (the last being STS-125 in 2009), but it was STS-61 that was the most crucial in making Hubble the 'Great Observatory' (and one of NASA's most iconic spacecraft) that it is today.

Astronauts Story Musgrave (on the robotic arm) and Jeffrey Hoffman conduct the last of five spacewalks at the Hubble Space Telescope during shuttle flight STS-61, on December 9, 1993.

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