7 PR lessons from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope

Derided as a half-blind Mr. Magoo in the sky when it launched 25 years ago, Hubble ultimately became one of the top scientific instruments ever built. What lessons does the project offer?

Now hailed as one of the most important scientific instruments ever built, it was then derided as a Mr. Magoo in space because a flawed mirror left it with blurry vision. In 1993, daring repairs in space provided Hubble with “eyeglasses”—and saved NASA’s reputation.

Since then, Hubble has peered billions of years back in time, revealing the existence of dark energy, the birth of ancient stars and the age of the universe (13.8 billion years, if you’re marking it on your calendar). The telescope wowed the public with iconic images such as the Pillars of Creation and the Ultra Deep Field view of primordial galaxies.

Charlie Bolden, a NASA administrator and the pilot of the mission that brought Hubble into orbit, has said, “A quarter century later, Hubble has fundamentally changed human understanding of the universe and our place in it.”

So, what are the lessons for PR pros in Hubble’s disastrous launch and brilliant comeback? We asked communicators.

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