Press Resources: Hubble at a Glance

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Hubble at a Glance
Hubble's name: NASA named the world's first space-based optical telescope after American astronomer Edwin P. Hubble (1889-1953). Dr. Hubble confirmed an "expanding" universe, which provided the foundation for the Big Bang theory.
Launch: April 24, 1990, from space shuttle Discovery (STS-31)
Deployment: April 25, 1990
Mission duration: Up to 20 years
Servicing Mission 1: December 1993
Servicing Mission 2: February 1997
Servicing Mission 3A: December 1999
Servicing Mission 3B: March 2002
Servicing Mission4: May 2009
Length: 43.5 ft (13.2 m)
Weight: 24,500 lb (11,110 kg)
Maximum diameter: 14 ft (4.2 m)
Cost at launch: $1.5 billion
Orbit: At an altitude of 380 statute miles (612 km), inclined 28.5 degrees to the equator (low-Earth orbit)
Time to complete one orbit: 97 minutes
Speed: 17,500 mph (28,000 kph)
Hubble can't observe: The Sun or Mercury, which is too close to the Sun
Sensitivity to light: Ultraviolet through near infrared (110-2,500 nanometers)
First image: May 20, 1990: Star Cluster NGC 3532
Data stats: Each day the telescope generates enough data — 3 to 4 gigabytes — to fill six CD-ROMs. The orbiting observatory's observations have amounted to more than 7 terabytes of data. Hubble's digital archive delivers 10 to 20 gigabytes of data a day to astronomers all over the world.
Power mechanism: Two 25-foot solar panels
Power usage: 3,000 watts. In an average orbit, Hubble uses about the same amount of energy as 30 household light bulbs.
Pointing accuracy: In order to take images of distant, faint objects, Hubble must be extremely steady and accurate. The telescope is able to lock onto a target without deviating more than 7/1000th of an arcsecond, or about the width of a human hair seen at a distance of 1 mile. Pointing the Hubble Space Telescope and locking onto distant celestial targets is like holding a laser light steady on a dime that is 400 miles away.
PRIMARY MIRROR
Diameter: 94.5 in (2.4 m)
Weight: 1,825 lb (828 kg)
SECONDARY MIRROR
Diameter: 12 in (0.3 m)
Weight: 27.4 lb (12.3 kg)
POWER STORAGE
Batteries: 6 nickel-hydrogen (NiH)
Storage capacity: Equal to 20 car batteries