Hubble drifts over Earth after its release on May 19, 2009 by the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis (left) and artists’ illustrations of NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope (center) and James Webb Space Telescope (right). Image credit: NASA
Established in 1981 and operated by AURA for NASA, the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) has helped guide the most famous observatory in history, the Hubble Space Telescope. Since its launch in 1990, STScI has performed the science operations for Hubble which continues to revolutionize astronomy and expand our knowledge of the Universe. More than 15,000 astronomers worldwide have used Hubble and published Hubble results in >14,000 refereed scientific papers, representing more than 15% of all astronomy papers each year. Hubble has accounted for 1.6% of the world’s scientific return across all science fields since 1990. See more about STScI’s role with Hubble.
STScI leads the science and mission operations for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which launched on December 25, 2021. The JWST Mission Operations Center, which sends commands for the observatory to execute, monitors its operational health, and receives scientific data on a daily basis is hosted at STScI. See more about STScI’s role with JWST.
The selection of the scientific programs for JWST and Hubble is coordinated by STScI. Every year during science operations, a world-wide community of scientists are invited to submit observing proposals. The submitted proposals are peer reviewed using a pioneering dual-anonymous system to minimize selection bias. STScI is also responsible for optimizing and characterizing the performance of Hubble’s and JWST’s science instruments.
STScI is the science operations center for the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, in development for launch in late 2026, and is a partner on several other NASA missions.
Staff at STScI conducts world-class scientific research; the Barbara A. Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST) curates and disseminates data from over 20 astronomical missions; and STScI brings science to the world through internationally recognized news, education, and public outreach programs. STScI values our diverse workforce and civility in the workplace, and seeks to be an example for others to follow.
Looking forward, STScI is studying advanced space telescope concepts for future large missions in the 2030s and beyond, in a quest to answer the question: “Are we alone?”