The Impact of HST on European Astronomy

This volume offers a broad perspective of the advancements made possible by the HST over its almost two decades of operation and emphasises their impact on European astronomical research.

The Impact of HST on European Astronomy

Remembrance of Things Past It scarcely seems credible that it was almost exactly thirty years ago that I ?rst met Duccio Macchetto at the ?rst meeting of the newly formed Science Working Group of what was then called the Space Telescope project. We were there in slightly d- ferent roles, Duccio as the project scientist for the Faint Object Camera and I as an interdisciplinary scientist. Henk van de Hulst was also there as the of?cial rep- sentative of ESO. The approval of the project was the end result of a great deal of lobbying and politicking both in the USA and Europe, the European contribution proving essential to the approval process in the USA. Those interested in the nit- gritty of the process should read Robert Smith’s outstanding history of the Hubble Space Telescope. We should have realized early on that we were in for a rough time. At that ?rst meeting of the Science Working Group I remember vividly NASA Headquarters telling us that the Space Telescope was a success-oriented programme that would cost M$ 680. Well, we could live with the cost-tag, but we should have had concerns about the expression “success-oriented”. This meant that everything should turn out exactly as planned, the project would be carried out within the projected time-scale and budget and the telescope would be launched in 1983. Well, the rest is history. We learned a lot of useful jargon along the way.

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