Modern (1940’s-present)


Abigail Caveness

The Hubble Telescope

The telescope is responsible for our most significant space discoveries and images. The Hubble Telescope is what people commonly refer to when they speak of the “modern” telescope. After all, it is one of NASA’s most remarkable creations. Though it was not the first space telescope, it is the most known and is one of the largest.

During its construction and design, few women worked at NASA; however, those who did played significant roles. Women like Dr. Nancy Roman, Dr. Kathy Sullivan, and many others are responsible for this Telescope’s achievements and success.

Image 1: “The STS-31 Crew from the Discovery mission that put the Hubble Telescope in Orbit.” Source: NASA
Image 2: “The Hubble Space Telescope. 2014.” Source: NASA/SpaceNews

Dr. Nancy G. Roman

Image 3: “Dr. Nancy Roman with her model of the Hubble Telescope.”      Source: NASA

Dr. Nancy Grace Roman, also known as “mother of Hubble,” was NASA’s first chief of astronomy. She loved astronomy from a young age and promoted the “Large Space Telescope” when working at NASA. She spent decades of her life working to make the space telescope a real thing. Because of her accomplishments and leadership, many women followed her path into what was considered a male-dominated field. She was born on May 16, 1926 in Nashville, TN; however, her family moved to Reno, Nevada, and that is where Dr. Roman fell in love with astronomy. Teachers looked down upon her for loving math and physics instead of Latin and English, which were considered more “female” subjects. She received her degree in astronomy from Swarthmore College and her doctorate in astronomy from the University of Chicago. She worked as a researcher at Yerkes Observatory and then moved to the United States Naval Research Laboratory. Her outstanding accomplishments there caught NASA’s attention and she was recruited to work there in 1959. However, her achievements were a little overshadowed by the “putting a man on the moon” project, but that did not stop her from becoming NASA’s first Chief of Astronomy. She retired in 1979 and worked as a consultant for the Hubble Telescope. Her work helped launch the Hubble in the 1990s.

Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan

Image 4: “Dr. Kathryn Sullivan.”                      Source: Originally from NASA but is not available there anymore.

Dr. Kathy Sullivan helped design and launch the Hubble Telescope. She is the first American woman to walk in space and attended three shuttle missions. She started as an oceanographer and is the first woman to reach the deepest point in the ocean. Her background and determination are key components that helped make the Hubble Telescope such a success. She was born on October 3, 1951, in Paterson, New Jersey but grew up in Woodland Hills, California. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Earth Science from the University of California and a doctorate in Geology from Dalhousie University (1973 and 1978). She participated in various ocean expeditions before joining NASA in 1978. She went on three shuttle missions, one of which was the Hubble Space Telescope deployment on Discovery. Dr. Sullivan spent a total of 532 hours in space while employed at NASA. She left in 1993 where she became chief of scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, CEO of the Center of Science and Industry, and the first director of the Battelle Center for Mathematics and Science Education Policy at Ohio State University. Recently in 2020, as mentioned before, she visited the deepest part of the ocean, the Challenger Deep. She has not only helped make discoveries in the ocean, but her mission with the Hubble Telescope helped reveal galaxies and change our knowledge of planets, moons, stars, back holes, and much more.

Chapter Questions

  1. Short Answer: When did Dr. Kathy Sullivan join NASA?
  2. True or False: Dr. Nancy Roman was discouraged from taking Latin and English.
  3. Multiple Choice: Where was Dr. Nancy Roman from?

a) Chicago

b) Nashville

c) Las Vegas

d) San Diego


Garner, R. (Ed.). (2020, April 20). Four successful women behind the Hubble space telescope’s achievements. NASA. Retrieved December 1, 2021, from

Goldstein, R. (2018, December 30). Nancy Roman, ‘Mother of the Hubble Telescope’, dies at 93. The New York Times. Retrieved December 1, 2021, from

Leone, D. (2014, March 31). NASA says it will extend private ISS cargo delivery contracts through 2017. SpaceNews. Retrieved December 1, 2021, from

NASA. (2014, April). Biographical data Kathryn B. Sullivan. NASA Biographical Data. Retrieved December 1, 2021, from

Sullivan, K. D. (n.d.). Kathy Sullivan scientist, astronaut, explorer. Kathy Sullivan. Retrieved December 1, 2021, from

Sullivan, K. D. (n.d.). Kathy Sullivan’s expertise spans the frontiers of space and sea. Kathy Sullivan. Retrieved December 1, 2021, from

Veronis, M., & Discovery and the Explorers Club. (2020, Jun 10). Dr. Kathy Sullivan is an explorer of firsts. Discovery. Retrieved December 1, 2021, from–kathy-sullivan-is-an-explorer-of-firsts


“The STS-31 Crew from the Discovery mission that put the Hubble Telescope in Orbit.” by NASA is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

“The Hubble Space Telescope. 2014.” by NASA is in the Public Domain

“Dr. Nancy Roman with her model of the Hubble Telescope.” by NASA is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

“Dr. Kathryn Sullivan.” by NASA can not be found on the NASA website anymore but is in the Public Domain and can be found on SpaceNews


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To the extent possible under law, Abigail Caveness has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to Science, Technology, & Society: A Student-Led Exploration, except where otherwise noted.

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