by the Numbers

From orbit characteristics to data rates, from science proposals to science papers, we've got the numbers!

Photograph of Hubble orbiting the Earth

These statistics reflect data as of 3/1/2024 unless otherwise indicated.


43 feet (13 m)
14 feet (4.3 m)
27,000 pounds (12,200 kg)
Turning speed
~1 degree per minute
Pointing accuracy
0.007 arcseconds *
* Equivalent to shining a laser beam on President Roosevelt’s head on a dime over 200 miles (320 km) away
The space shuttle is shown in sunlight in orbit.
Sunlight reflects off of the Space Shuttle Endeavour's aft windows and the Hubble Space Telescope prior to its deployment near the end of the telescope’s first servicing mission. Hubble is the size of a large school bus and weighs 27,000 pounds (12,200 kg).


Hubble's altitude
320 miles (515 km)
Hubble's orbital speed
~ 17,000 miles per hour (27,000 kilometers per hour)
Distance traveled in orbit
> 5 billion miles (8 billion km)
Earth orbits
> 184,000
Earth's limb fills the lower-left half of the image. Hubble is against the black background of space just above and to the right of center.
The Hubble Space Telescope is in low-Earth orbit, making one revolution around Earth every 95 minutes. Above Earth’s thin blue atmosphere, visible along the horizon in this 1999 image, Hubble gets a clearer and higher resolution view of the cosmos than ground-based observatories.


Power generated by Hubble solar arrays 
> 5,200 watts
Power typically used by the spacecraft components
~ 2,100 watts
Total capacity of Hubble's six batteries
> 500 amp hours
original Hubble solar array undergoing testing
One of Hubble’s original solar arrays is shown here during a deployment test before its installation on the spacecraft. The solar arrays collect the Sun’s energy, generating power for all of Hubble’s systems.


Primary mirror diameter
7.8 feet (2.4 m)
Amount of light collected by the primary mirror compared to the human eye
40,000 times
Secondary mirror diameter
1 foot (0.3 m)
Focal length
189 feet (56.7 m) compressed to 21 feet (6.4 m)
Ultraviolet-visible light resolution/number of pixels
0.04 arcseconds per pixel** /16 megapixels
Infrared light resolution/number of pixels
0.13 arcseconds per pixel
/1 megapixels
** Equivalent to seeing a pair of fireflies in Tokyo that are less than 10 feet (3 m) apart from Washington, D.C.
This is an image of a technician holding the ACS WFP CCD.
The Advanced Camera for Surveys contains a 16-megapixel detector (charged couple device) that provides high-resolution images in ultraviolet and visible light.


Rate at which science data is transmitted to the ground
1 megabit per second
Average amount of science data captured weekly 
150 gigabits
Rate at which commands are sent to Hubble
32 kilobits per second
Amount of data that can be stored on the spacecraft
24 gigabits (or about 3 gigabytes)
Size of data archive
430 terrabytes
Astronaut John Grunsfeld is maneuvering over to the Hubble spacecraft with a box to install
Astronaut John Grunsfeld maneuvers to install a solid state recorder (SSR) during Hubble Servicing Mission 3A in December 1999. The SSR is equivalent to a big USB stick made of computer memory. It holds 10 times the amount of data as the tape recorder it replaced.


Number of observations taken
over 1,600,000
Astonomical objects for which data has been collected
Percentage of the sky observed
Distance light traveled from the farthest object (galaxy GN-z11) observed 
13,400,000,000 light-years
Distance light traveled from the farthest individual star (Earendel) Hubble observed 
12,900,000,000 light-years
Longest exposure time for one pointing
1,000,000,000 seconds
A map of the sky showing the locations of the Hubble Space Telescope observations
This sky map reveals the relative location and concentration of Hubble observations taken in its decades-long history, represented as yellow specks. The red line indicates the plane of the galaxy from our perspective inside the Milky Way.

Science Proposals

Number of proposals to observe or use archived Hubble data per year
Chances of having your proposal selected
~1 in 5 
Number of countries that have won proposals for observing time on Hubble
A map of the world with brighter or darker colors indicating the number of proposals won
Scientists around the world submit proposals for observing time on Hubble. The map above illustrates Hubble’s world-wide reach. Darker colors indicate a higher number of selected proposals.

Science Papers

Peer-reviewed science papers published in professional journals on Hubble discoveries
Citations in published papers (through 2023)
Astronomers that have written science papers based on Hubble data
A bar plot showing the number of papers published using HST data since 1991.
More than 21,000 published academic papers in professional science journals use Hubble data.

Shuttle Missions to Hubble

Space shuttle flights to deploy and service Hubble
Number of astronauts that flew to Hubble
Days that astronauts conducted spacewalks to service Hubble
Total time astronauts spent on spacewalks servicing Hubble.
171 hours and 3 minutes
Longest Hubble spacewalk
8 hours and 15 minutes
Total spacewalkers who serviced Hubble 
With Earth in the background, an astronaut works on Hubble and is reflected in the shiny surface of the telescope. Below him, the space shuttle's metallic, red-colored Flight Support System helps hold the telescope in position, and the newly removed Wide Field Planetary Camera 1 is stowed temporarily nearby.
Astronauts serviced Hubble on five separate shuttle missions. In this image, Hubble is mounted in the shuttle's cargo bay during Servicing Mission 1 while astronaut F. Story Musgrave performs maintenance.