The spectrometer, shown here undergoing testing in an electromagnetic interference test chamber, splits up light from a star or galaxy and examines it in great detail. 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. It is a reflecting telescope and its main mirror has a diameter of 2.5 metres. 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 in 1993, greatly improving the telescope's performance, enabling it to view the Universe in unprecedented detail.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society