Telescopes Lofted to Space

An Historical Chronology
  • Peter Abrahams
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 334)


To become airborne was an early dream of humanity. It was a profound dream because of the meaningfulness of the perspective from aloft: the subject was able to observe the Earth and to become closer to heaven. In this context, a telescope is the most basic augmentation of the airborne experience: it expands the new perspective, allows measurement and analysis, and provides new forms of beauty. The first telescopes in space were anticipated by imaginative authors and by exacting engineers, whose dreams and proposals have a part in this story. The earliest telescopes to achieve space, the rocket-launched suborbital missions, both successes and failures, will be described, along with the effect they had on science and culture. Telescopes in orbit and in space probes are the current generation of instruments, a prelude to a future of lunar and planetary telescopes. Every success can be seen to have had a direct effect on the widening of horizons provided by the telescope. This paper will serve as an introduction to a very extensive subject.

Key words

Rocket-launched telescopes space telescopes 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Abrahams
    • 1
  1. 1.Lake OswegoUSA

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