The Hubble Space Telescope On Ice


The Space Telescope awaiting launch in a "clean room" at Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, Sunnyvale, California




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.



The aging Space Telescope has recently been significantly upgraded. It's like a whole new Hubble! Click on the image above for the story.

Plus here are two new Hubble links.


Return to previous space experiences.