On April 24, 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was launched aboard Space Shuttle Discovery on the STS-31 mission. The mission featured the deployment of Hubble, the first of NASA's Great Observatories to reach orbit. STS-31 was the tenth launch of the shuttle Discovery. On board were astronauts Charles F. Bolden (pilot, now NASA Administrator), Steven A. Hawley (mission specialist), Loren J. Shriver (commander), Bruce McCandless (mission specialist) and Kathryn D. Sullivan (mission specialist, now NOAA Administrator).
In this April 25, 1990 photograph taken with a handheld Hasselblad camera, most of the giant Hubble Space Telescope can be seen as it is suspended in space by Discovery's Remote Manipulator System (RMS) following the deployment of part of its solar panels and antennae. This was among the first photos NASA released on April 30 from the five-day STS-31 mission.