With the Hubble Space Telescope packed in its cargo bay, shuttle Discovery lifts off from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A, while another shuttle, Columbia, is being prepared for launch on the Astro-1 mission. Columbia was later lost and its crew killed during NASA's second fatal shuttle accident in 2003. | NASA

Hubble at 25: Brief History of the Hubble Space Telescope

It's been an eventful 25 years for what turned out to become the world's best-known telescope and perhaps among the most productive science instruments ever made. Here's a look at Hubble's life in pictures.

Published On 04/24/2015
1:00 PM EDT
Technicians work on Hubble's glass primary mirror, later found to have a manufacturing defect. Light reflects off the main mirror and strikes a second, smaller mirror, then bounces back again through a 2-foot (0.6 m) diameter hole in the center of the main mirror so it can be captured by cameras and science instruments. In this picture, the hole covered. | NASA
Astronauts Story Musgrave, attached to the shuttle's robot arm, and Jeff Hoffman, in the payload bay, wrap on work on Hubble during the first servicing mission to Hubble in 1993. Over the next 15 years, NASA sent four more shuttle crews to upgrade and repair the telescope. | NASA
Hubble's view of the spiral galaxy M100 before and after astronauts installed corrective optics. | NASA/STScI/JPL
Hubble's first Deep Field image reveals distant galaxies nearly 4 billion times fainter than what the human eye can see. The image was assembled from hundreds of separate exposures taken during 10 consecutive days in December 1995. Bluer objects contain young stars and/or stars that are relatively close, while redder objects contain older stellar populations and/or are farther away. | R.Williams/STSci/Hubble Deep Field Team/NASA/ESA
The Hubble Extreme Deep Field shows about 5,500 galaxies, the faintest of which are one ten-billionth the brightness of what the human eye can see. | NASA/ESA/G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Oesch (University of California, Santa Cruz)/R. Bouwens (Leiden University)/ HUDF09 Team
Hubble drifts away from the space shuttle Atlantis, which flew a fifth and final servicing call in May 2009 | NASA