Space Shuttle and Hubble Telescope, 1980s.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society
Model of a shuttle bearing the Hubble Space Telescope upright in its cargo bay. The Space Shuttle, the world's first partially reusable launch vehicle, first flew on 12th April 1981 and has been used for all America's manned space misions ever since. The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was designed to see seven times further into space than had been posible before, without the distortion caused by the Earth's atmosphere. Work began in 1977 and the HST was finally launched by the Space Shuttle Discovery on 24th April 1990. Problems with its giant mirror meant that it did not initially work as well as expected. Corrective optics were installed on another Shuttle mision in 1993, greatly improving the telescope's performance.