Arguably the Space Shuttle’s zenith

A dozen years ago, the Space Shuttle Endeavor was linked with the Hubble Space Telescope. After a two day chase, F. Story Musgrave and Jeffrey A. Hoffman began the first of five extra-vehicular activities (EVAs, or “spacewalks”) at 10:46 PM Eastern time on December 4th, 1993. It lasted over seven hours.

The STS-61 mission to perform major repairs and upgrades to the Hubble was, honestly, the Space Shuttle at its best. The successful 11-day flight is legendary, and rightly so.


Today, the days of both the Shuttle and the Hubble numbered. But that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been glory. Sadly, there hasn’t been as much from the Shuttle as we were promised.


  1. I agree that the Hubble repair mission was an amazing proof-of-concept for the Shuttle. Only problem was that the Shuttle was so expensive to fly (let alone develop) that I think you could have built a new Hubble and launched it for the cost of … I don’t know … somewhere between 5 and 10 shuttle flights (operating costs only, excluding any allocation of up front development costs). In retrospect the Shuttle, although super-cool, was a complete waste. Think of what we could have done with all of those billions of dollars if we just relied on traditional rocket technology. Think of all the amazing space probes, space-based telescopes, and even better space station technology we could have developed. The shuttle’s really cool. But it just doesn’t really do anything useful.