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Celebrating 33 Years of Cosmic Discovery

Hubble Space Telescope Over Earth

3D animation showing the Hubble Space Telescope over the Earth. Credit: ESA/Hubble (M. Kornmesser & L. L. Christensen)

The Hubble Space Telescope just marked its 33rd year in orbit around the Earth with a remarkable gift for us all — an awe-inspiring new image of a celestial nursery close to us, known as NGC 1333.

This age-defying telescope continues to peel back the layers of the universe, even after more than three decades. This video provides a glimpse into some of the scientific achievements that Hubble has provided during its most recent year in orbit.

 Key Hubble Space Telescope Milestones

  • April 24, 1990 – The Hubble Space Telescope was launched aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery.
  • December 2-13, 1993 – The first servicing mission, known as SM1 (Servicing Mission 1), took place. Astronauts performed spacewalks to install a new camera and corrective optics to fix the problem with Hubble’s main mirror.
  • February 11-21, 1997 – During the second servicing mission, SM2, astronauts replaced scientific instruments and improved Hubble’s pointing system, among other upgrades.
  • December 19-27, 1999 – The third servicing mission, SM3A, occurred. This was originally planned as one mission, but was split into two parts (SM3A and SM3B) after three of the six gyroscopes on the telescope failed. In SM3A, astronauts replaced all six gyroscopes and performed other equipment upgrades.
  • March 1-12, 2002 – SM3B, the second part of the third servicing mission, took place. Astronauts installed a new camera, improved Hubble’s power control unit, and performed other upgrades.
  • May 11-24, 2009 – The fourth and final servicing mission, SM4, happened. Astronauts replaced all six gyroscopes and batteries, installed two new cameras, and performed other maintenance and upgrades, effectively extending Hubble’s life well into the 2020s.
  • April 24, 2020 – Hubble celebrated its 30th anniversary in orbit.
  • April 24, 2023 – Hubble marked its 33rd year in orbit by revealing a new image of the nearby star-forming region, NGC 1333.

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