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NASA Hubble Space Telescope Manual

New Haynes manual marks 25 years of NASA Hubble Space Telescope
19 August 2015
Dr David Baker
June 2015
£22.99

To mark the 25th year since NASA launched its ground-breaking Hubble Space Telescope (HST) into orbit, a new Haynes manual has been published which offers an insightful perspective on the remarkable feats of design and engineering associated with the world’s first earth-orbiting telescope.

Authored by Dr David Baker, a space exploration historian and former engineer on NASA’s Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle projects, Haynes’ NASA Hubble Space Telescope Owners’ Workshop Manual is the first book to directly explain the mechanics of the telescope itself, as opposed to looking solely at the universe defined by the images the craft has taken.

The manual, which will appeal to enthusiasts of both space technology and astronomy, as well as readers wishing to gain a better understanding of how the HST works and its achievements, features numerous technical illustrations and photographs of the engineering and maintenance of the HST, and examples of stunning imagery taken from the craft. The engaging and accessible text takes an in-depth look at the origins of the telescope and its unique ‘man-tended’ design philosophy, as well as its development, manufacture and assembly.

A key section of the manual covers the remarkable longevity of the HST, and how it has been maintained over the years, starting with the Shuttle Endeavour rescue mission in 1993 – which fitted corrective optics after a manufacturing error was discovered – followed by four more upgrade missions by Discovery, Columbia and Atlantis between 1997 and 2009.

To mark the 25th year since NASA launched its ground-breaking Hubble Space Telescope (HST) into orbit, a new Haynes manual has been published which offers an insightful perspective on the remarkable feats of design and engineering associated with the world’s first earth-orbiting telescope.

Authored by Dr David Baker, a space exploration historian and former engineer on NASA’s Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle projects, Haynes’ NASA Hubble Space Telescope Owners’ Workshop Manual is the first book to directly explain the mechanics of the telescope itself, as opposed to looking solely at the universe defined by the images the craft has taken.

The manual, which will appeal to enthusiasts of both space technology and astronomy, as well as readers wishing to gain a better understanding of how the HST works and its achievements, features numerous technical illustrations and photographs of the engineering and maintenance of the HST, and examples of stunning imagery taken from the craft. The engaging and accessible text takes an in-depth look at the origins of the telescope and its unique ‘man-tended’ design philosophy, as well as its development, manufacture and assembly.

A key section of the manual covers the remarkable longevity of the HST, and how it has been maintained over the years, starting with the Shuttle Endeavour rescue mission in 1993 – which fitted corrective optics after a manufacturing error was discovered – followed by four more upgrade missions by Discovery, Columbia and Atlantis between 1997 and 2009.

Discussing the craft’s many achievements, which are covered in detail in the manual, author Dr Baker said: “Broadly speaking, the Hubble Space Telescope has achieved what any truly great scientific endeavour should; to raise more questions that it has answered.

“It has made a number of intriguing discoveries, spawned vital theories as to the origins and development of the universe, and turned many theories into facts. In particular, it has contributed to the theory of ‘dark energy’, an unknown energy source which is now widely understood to have accelerated the expansion of the universe.”

Commenting on the telescope’s relatively low maintenance costs – despite public perception that such projects are extremely costly – Dr Baker added: “To maintain Hubble for forty years costs roughly the same as staging an Olympic Games. If the societal, educational and economic benefits of staging a Games can be financially justified in terms of public spending, then why wouldn’t a ground-breaking astronomical project such as Hubble?”

The manual looks ahead to the launch of the eagerly anticipated James Webb Space Telescope in 2018, a project for which Baker believes there is both the feasibility and political will to operate alongside Hubble for a number of years to come, rather than replace the existing telescope as initially planned. Dr Baker says: “For this to be the case would be testament to both the engineering longevity and continued scientific value of Hubble, which still provides us with a wealth of vital data as to the composition of the universe we live in.”

Author Dr David Baker is available for further comment and media interview, and can discuss and explain the following topics:

  • Why the HST continues to be of value. Dr Baker argues that if there can be financial justification for holding an Olympic Games, which costs about the same as maintaining the HST for 40 years, in terms of its impact on wider society, then why wouldn’t space exploration be considered to be equally relevant?
  • How HST has been maintained for 25 years, including each upgrade mission.
  • The achievements of the HST, including scientific discoveries, engineering feats, and inspiring the next generation of engineers and astronomers.
  • How the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) could operate in tandem with the James Webb Space Telescope, and the potential for this to happen.
  • The history of space exploration, covering the planetary age (1970s) and the observatory period (1980s), which culminated in the development of the HST.

About the author

Dr David Baker, an Englishman, worked with NASA on the Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle programmes between 1965 and 1990 and has written more than 80 books on spaceflight technology. His previous titles for Haynes include NASA Mars Rovers Manual, International Space Station Manual, NASA Space Shuttle Manual, Apollo 13 Manual, Soyuz Manual and Rocket Manual. He lives in East Sussex.

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