National Air and Space Museum 2015 Annual Report


Museum Celebrates Anniversary of Hubble Space Telescope with Events, Books

Astronaut Panel
Panel featuring space shuttle astronauts Bruce McCandless, Loren Shriver, Claude Nicollier, and Jean-Francois Clervoy, moderated by Jim Crocker, vice president of civil space, Lockheed Martin.
2015 marked the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope's release into space. The Museum marked the anniversary with diverse programming throughout the year, including lectures, educational programming, and family activities, and the publication of two books about the telescope.

Hubble is the largest astronomical telescope ever sent into space. It launched in 1990 from Space Shuttle Discovery and was designed to be serviced periodically in space by shuttle astronauts. The telescope is continuing to provide astronomers with fascinating new information on the past and present state of the universe. Some of its breakthroughs include: participating in the discovery that the rate of expansion of the universe is accelerating, indicating the presence of a force presently called "dark energy." Hubble also helped to confirm the existence of supermassive black holes, to determine the age of the universe, and to observe stars in their earliest stages of their formation.

The theme of the Museum’s annual Exploring Space lecture series was "Hubble: 25 Years and Counting."  Four distinguished lecturers discussed how the repair missions improved the telescope, and described some of the most innovative science performed using Hubble as well as insights into the universe it has revealed. Visit the programs section of this report for details.

Harvard professor Robert Kirshner presented the John N. Bahcall Lecture April 22 at the Museum in Washington, DC. He discussed how Hubble is used to understand the dark energy that causes cosmic acceleration.

Hubble was the focus of the activities at this year’s “Explore the Universe” family day April 11 at the National Mall building, and the Udvar-Hazy Center hosted the “Hubble Space Telescope 25th Anniversary” Family Day” April 25.

The April 22 edition of the Museum’s online educational series, "What's New in Aerospace?", also focused on Hubble.

Finally, museum experts published two books about Hubble in 2015. The first, available as a free download or for purchase on, was Hubble's Legacy: Reflections by Those Who Dreamed It, Built It, and Observed the Universe with It, edited by Associate Director for Collections and Curatorial Affairs, Roger D. Launius, and Senior Space History Curator, David H. DeVorkin. The second book, The Hubble Cosmos: 25 Years of New Vistas in Space, is also by DeVorkin, along with Robert W. Smith.