The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was put into orbit from the Space Shuttle Discovery, mision STS-31 on 24th April 1990. HST is backdropped against Bolivia, Chile and Peru with its solar array panels and antennae fully extended. The robot arm of the shuttle is also visible. Hubble was designed to see seven times further into space than had been posible before, without the distortion caused by the Earth's atmosphere. 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. It has photographed objects 13 billion light years away, giving an insight into the early Universe.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society