Hubble’s $50 Million Vision Problem

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Soon after Hubble launched, scientists realized there was something wrong with it’s mirror. What most people don’t know is that an identical backup mirror was made but never used. This video looks at how Hubble’s mirror ended up being flawed and why the backup mirror was never used.

» Reconciliation – Asher Fulero

» Air To The Throne – Doug Maxwell
» Long Road Ahead – Kevin MacLeod

Tags: hubble telescope, space shuttle, nasa, backup mirror, space telescope, defect, astronomy, physics, education, costar

  1. itsleo!

    i think i never fully realized just how massive this telescope really is

  2. Andy Candy

    Bad lentil today, Spinoza, get back to work. And maybe next time…

  3. Wayne Flanigan

    Rehashing old news. We all know what was wrong, a miscalculation in grinding and polishing caused spherical aberration. Easily fixed with a new secondary mirror to correct for it.

  4. yallow rosa

    2:43 “the 2 companies (those of main and backup mirror) did not collaborate” …
    NASA had to require them to collaborate …

  5. KoVLiberty

    I wish the Shuttle was in service so Hubble could be recovered and preserved in a museum.

    Alas, no.

  6. philip mc donagh

    Should have gone to Speck savers.

  7. Red Squirrel

    Hubble is an incredible feat of engineering especially considering how long ago it was. Will be sad when it is officially deemed end of life, but it will be exciting to see what the new one (James Webb) will do.

  8. Willy Mueller


  9. Thomas Reese

    Starship is going to make space exciting. The ability to launch giant payloads at any time for a fraction of today’s cost will remove some of the major bottlenecks. Hopefully future space missions start making duplicates of their devices and just send them all, lowering the R&D cost per unit.

  10. Kolbasz3

    Imagine working on a mirror for 2 years, only to find out it doesnt work

  11. Diogo Coelho

    Hubble’s life is getting to an end, but maybe with the right spacecraft we can bring it down and add it so some museum

  12. Martian

    5:47 I think you should use the word ‘precise’ rather than accurate?

  13. Mermaid

    Please don’t let this be about the mirror issue!!

  14. BradiKal61

    some people say we should only send robots into space but what robots could have fixed Hubble TWENTY PLUS YEARS AGO? even today we don’t have robots capable of such precise work.

  15. BradiKal61

    There is something fishy about how the mirror and laser test rig EXACTLY compensated for the defect in the mirror curvature . that is just too much of a coincidence. i suspect that Perkins Elmer rigged the test to send their defective mirror to space where they hoped the blurry pictures would be put down to some unknown problem or that somehow a focus adjustment would compensate for it

  16. BradiKal61

    Perkins Elmer screwed the pooch but in the end it was proven that delicate repairs could be performed in space , which was always a claim that was made to justify the shuttle program with human astronauts. The Hubble has paid off its cost with our increased understanding of the universe. Overcoming problems in space is at least as important as having successes the first time around.

  17. Old Man Doing High Kicks

    Considering the problem, 50 million is cheap. That kind of money funds a US war for a day.

  18. extoprak

    ALTHOUGH this is not the channel Curious Droid, it is good HOWEVER 👍

  19. Muka Zero

    Little mistake can be huge destructive in space. It’s the same thing happen to Challenger…

  20. Aditya Agrawal

    totally newfact

  21. Jeff Allen

    When is the James Webb telescope going to launch?

  22. Jolly Joy

    Why would anybody add artificial chromatic abberation to images while trying to showcase the quality of the images?? This is just a pointless gimmick diminishing the actual work that went into all this…

  23. lotSlow V

    I have heard many times of the hacked repair performed in Hubble, but never new how exactly it worked. Good job.

  24. Valamas

    Downvote for conning me into an ad.

  25. Sunhay Seam

    *Primal Space videos are always enjoyable and fun to watch!*

  26. User21

    I really liked this episode. The video was longer and content seemed denser. Great work.

  27. Martin

    I’m pretty sure the title of this video in my feed changed 3 times in a row before I click 😂

  28. Dash 03

    Nice interesting video thank you

  29. Hank Meyer

    Who ever decided to add Art to STEM needs to be fired.

  30. Bru h

    Hubble bubble rubble

  31. P455w0rd's 16

    I can t belive that i actualy cried of how beutiful is the engineering

  32. Colin Wright

    One of the most amazing parts of this is the fact they did the repair and replacement IN SPACE?!

  33. Devendra Baskey

    Still waiting for JWT

  34. dump truck

    so the one of the greatest nerd achievements ever… needed glasses. Yup! Checks out.

  35. SKM

    Who’s here after Crew 2 is safely on the ISS

  36. Molly Ringworm

    Gosh I wanna make a Sandy Bullock joke right now, will not.

  37. Alvin Robertson

    The guy who fixed hubble got the idea in the shower by looking how the shower head moved and how it ran up and down its vertical rail and how it flicked out . He made the correctional lens and used the shower head idea to get it a bit like a ship in a bottle to deploy the optics. That would be the costar instrument…

  38. Amir Safari

    I hope scientists designed James web telescope repairable to some extent,in case starship develop successfully

  39. The Mad Man

    It’s gonna be a real shame to see Hubble deactivate, but it’s done good work over the years it’s been up there.

  40. Rakesh Yadav

    The fact that during testing the flaw was undiscovered due to incorrect mirror placement makes me think that it was intentional.

  41. tj _


  42. Bartek Juszczak

    If they can service hubble in space like that why can’t they build a mirror in space by hand from segments ?

  43. GaMe clan


  44. Beneluxia

    Can it also be a spy sattelite or is it only designed for space?

  45. Michael Testa

    Hopefully, better quality control with James Webb. 🤞

  46. NorthernChev

    Not sure why you state that the building of a second mirror was something nobody knew about? The building of a backup mirror is STANDARD procedure for almost all telescopes of this type. This isn’t something “secret” or even “new information”.

  47. Levet


  48. Julie Blankenship


  49. Jörg Reinhardt

    they also had an offer from Zeiss… about 10% more expensive. which is well below the usual difference in price of Zeiss products, when compared to the concurrence and back when it still meant something. could have been the bargain of a century.

  50. Kinetic Cowboy

    Great video. As a space fan-boy born in 1960 I am above the curve with my knowledge of space technology and history. This is the first time I ever heard about a backup mirror. Just as Boeing has gamed the system and gets preferential treatment and press coverage while continuously coming in way over budget, this is another example of overspending, lack of accountability and lack of transparency. Happy to see private companies taking the lead now.

  51. Jónstefán Andersen

    2.000 nanometers, why not just say 2 micrometers?

  52. Don

    Gotta wonder what that $300 mill went. NASA is the biggest waste of money, one Elon makes them look like amatures

  53. Friday Californiaa

    Guess that “NASA” and “management” never were two words that fit well together…

  54. Oxeron

    More like Hubbble’s secret hidden “b”

  55. Reog Ponorogo


  56. CreativME

    I’m waiting for James Webb telescope to be launched

  57. Type40 Figures


  58. Oliver Woodhouse

    incorrect spelling in the title, “Hubbble” rather than Hubble

  59. ShortzYT Transit & Gaming

    Hubbble moment

  60. Marc Marc

    Thanks for making videos

  61. Tayfaan

    It’s sad to see Hubble go, wonder what the future will bring us.

  62. What The Puck!

    Hubble is a legend. But James Webb (i hope will be better)

  63. Jayashree Korde

    You deserve more subscribers

  64. Thorat Pratik

    1st view I love primal space♥️♥️

  65. Biniam Gaming

    Can’t wait for a repair mission on JWST with starship after it breaks in space. If it ever launches

  66. Mad Mars4

    We have lift off

  67. Sebastian

    new video yay

  68. Jonathan

    Love the vid

  69. Space Crow

    Another nice vid

  70. Jabbar Rayyan




  72. Dann


  73. Primal Space

    Hopefully the James Webb telescope doesn’t have any similar problems… Shoutout to KiwiCo for supporting this video, give them a try and support the channel!

Comments are closed.