April 25, 1990, Deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope

Space shuttle cargo bay open and space telescope being released, with Earth visible below

In this April 25, 1990, photograph taken by the crew of the STS-31 space shuttle mission, the Hubble Space Telescope is suspended above shuttle Discovery’s cargo bay some 332 nautical miles above Earth. The Canadian-built Remote Manipulator System (RMS) arm, controlled from in-cabin by the astronaut crew members, held the huge telescope in this position during pre-deployment procedures, which included extension of solar array panels and antennae.

STS-31 was the tenth launch of the shuttle Discovery. On board were Commander Loren J. Shriver, Pilot Charles F. Bolden, Jr. (NASA Administrator 2009-2017), Mission Specialists Steven A. Hawley, Bruce McCandless II and Kathryn D. Sullivan (NOAA Administrator 2014-2017). To launch Hubble into an orbit that guaranteed longevity, Discovery soared to a record altitude of 600 km.

Image Credit: NASA