Hubble was supposed to be launched
from a space shuttle but after the January, 1986, Challenger
disaster the entire shuttle program was grounded for 2 1/2 years.
So the telescope had to be kept "on ice".
On August 24, 1987, I took advantage
of a rare opportunity to see the actual Space Telescope. It was
arranged by the Planetary Society Bay Area Volunteer Network.
After a tour of NASA Ames Research Center, our group drove a
short distance over to Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, Inc.
in Sunnyvale. We were required to pass a security check, given
guest badges and escorted to a room where we could look through
a large window at the Space Telescope. No cameras were allowed.
The two images above are quite rare - they were taken from the
Lockheed brochure we received that day. I've been unable to find
any other pictures. The telescope was quite large. It appeared
to be about the length of a school bus.
Finally, the shuttle program was
restarted successfully in Oct. 1988. The Hubble finally made
it into orbit in April, 1990. My Planetary Society volunteer
friend Mark Siegel went to the landing of the shuttle that deployed
Hubble. I asked him to bring me a souvenir and he brought me
the patch below.