The Hubble Space Telescope has been sending astonishing images and scientific data to earth since its launch in 1990. By 2009, though, the telescope’s equipment was degrading, and in some cases failing, due to the hostile environment of space.
NASA’s mission STS-125 deployed seven astronauts on the shuttle Atlantis to repair and service the telescope in a series of challenging space walks. Service Mission 4 (SM4), Hubble’s last, guaranteed that those stunning visuals would continue—and produced some equally stunning photographs taken by its crew members because of the guidance of documentary and portrait photographer Michael Soluri.
With the support of Discover magazine, NASA, and the Atlantis astronauts, he gained unprecedented access into the work worlds of the people who directed, supported, and flew the historic final shuttle mission that saved and extended the life of the Hubble. Soluri was determined to discover the art in human and robotic space flight, and a question from him about the quality of light in space led to an invitation to coach the crew in how to capture photographs that communicate their experiences inside the shuttle and working in space.
To mark the Hubble’s 25th anniversary, Soluri shares images from his recent book, Infinite Worlds: The People and Places of Space Exploration (Simon and Shuster), as well as stories from the Hubble’s labor force and crew. Then, get some unique personal insights into the mission when Soluri is joined by four individuals who played key roles in Service Mission SM4: astronaut Scott Altman, the STS-125 shuttle commander; David Leckrone, senior project scientist; Christy Hansen, EVA spacewalk flight controller and astronaut instructor; and Hubble systems engineer Ed Rezac.
Infinite Worlds is available for signing, but won't be available for purchase at the program.
Several of Soluri’s images of the SM4’s EVA tools and photos by the Atlantis crew are part of the exhibition Outside the Spacecraft: 50 Years of Extra-Vehicular Activity, on view at the Air and Space Museum through June 8.
View Michael Soluri's gallery of images from Infinite Worlds.