Space: Roots of The Hubble's Troubles

NASA could have spotted the telescope's flaw before the launch

Anyone can make a mistake. But when it sabotages a $1.5 billion project, the blunder is not easily forgiven. And when evidence of the mistake is repeatedly ignored until it is too late to fix the problem, then the episode becomes scandalous.

That was the case with the ill-fated Hubble Space Telescope, according to a remarkably frank investigative report issued last week by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The flaw that crippled the telescope's primary mirror was not obvious until after the instrument was launched last spring. Yet technicians at the company that made the mirror had indications of trouble...

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