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The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is an orbiting astronomical observatory operating in the spectrum from the near-infrared into the ultraviolet. Launched in 1990 and scheduled to operate through 2010, HST carries and has carried a wide variety of instruments producing imaging, spectrographic, astrometric, and photometric data through both pointed and parallel observing programs. Over 100,000 observations of more than 20,000 targets have been produced for retrieval. A macroscopic, cumulative representation of these observations is shown in the figure below to provide a sense of the enormous volume of astronomical data collected by the HST about our universe, our beginnings, and, consequently, about our future. The telescope is already well known as a marvel of science. This case study hopes to represent the facet of the HST that is a marvel of systems engineering, which, in fact, generated the scientific research and observation capabilities now appreciated worldwide.

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