The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is the largest public orbiting optical telescope in history. Its reflector mirror of 2.4 meters in diameter and its elevated position above the Earth's atmosphere allows it to create exceptionally sharp images.
Launched in 1990, the HST optical devices were repaired to their level of design accuracy in 1993 during the first of several regular maintenance missions.
Astronomers using HST continue to make numerous monumental scientific discoveries, including estimates of the age and composition of our universe, previously unknown galaxies, evidence of massive black holes in the center of galaxies, protoplanetary star systems and star-forming regions, and a better understanding of the physical processes in our universe.
A new generation Space Telescope (NGST), even larger, could be launched as early as 2007.
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