Keeping an Eye on the Universe – The Hubble Servicing Missions


Speaker: David J. Shayler

Date: 27 April 2016
Start Time: 7 pm
End Time: 8:30 pm

Venue: 27/29 South Lambeth Road, Vauxhall, London, SW8 1SZ

The highly successful Hubble Space Telescope was meant to change our view and understanding of the universe. Within weeks of launch in 1990, however, the space community was shocked to find out that the primary mirror of the telescope was flawed. It was only the skills of scientists and engineers on the ground and the daring talents of astronauts sent to service the telescope in December 1993 that saved the mission.

For over two decades NASA had developed the concept of on-orbit satellite servicing which had involved creating a ground-based infrastructure, unique tools and EVA hardware to support skills developed in crew training to enable astronauts to complete a demanding series of spacewalks.

Developed from his two latest books Dave Shayler, explains in his presentation, the background to and stories from the series of missions sent to service, repair and upgrade the telescope over a period of sixteen years. Based on first hand interviews with many who worked on the missions, this is not just a tale of space age technology, astronauts and astronomy. It is also a story of audacious scientific vision, and the human ingenuity and determination to overcome all obstacles to make it possible.

Originally intended to operate for 15 years, Hubble has just passed its 25th anniversary, and thanks to the work of the huge team on the ground, and the spacewalking skills and experiences of the astronauts, there is every expectation that the telescope will continue to serve for 30 years, a true legacy of the Space Shuttle program.

Dave’s books, published by Springer will be available for purchase and signing:

The Hubble Space Telescope: From Concept to Success, with a Foreword by Steve Hawley and Afterword by Story Musgrave (former NASA astronauts)

Enhancing Hubble’s Vision: Service Missions That Expanded Our View of the Universe, with a Foreword by Steve Haley and Afterword by Chuck Shaw (former Shuttle Flight Director)

Spaceflight historian David J. Shayler, FBIS  was born 1955.  His lifelong interest in space exploration began by drawing rockets aged 5 but it was not until the launch of Apollo 8 to the moon in December 1968 that the interest for human space exploration became a passion. Dave joined the BIS in January 1976, became an Associate Fellow in January 1983 and Fellow in January 1984 and was elected to the Council in September 2013. His first articles were published by the British Interplanetary Society in the late 1970s and in 1982 he created Astro Info Service ( to focus his research efforts. His first book was published in 1987 and now has over 25 titles to his name including works on the American and Russian space programmes, the topics of space walking, women in space, and the human exploration of Mars. Dave’s authorised biography of Skylab 4 astronaut Jerry Carr was published in 2008. Since 1969 he has had a keen interest in EVA and spacesuits since 1969, which is reflected in many of Dave’s presentations and published works.

If you are a BIS Member or Fellow, you can make your free booking below. If you are not a Member or Fellow of the BIS, you can book for £10.00 via the Online Booking Form.

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