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1970 - 1993
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JPL's Hubble Camera
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astronauts install camera on Hubble
  Shuttle astronauts install JPL's camera on Hubble.
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  Crab nebula
  The Crab nebula.
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  Also in 1977, NASA tasked JPL to build the Wide Field and Planetary Camera, what was intended to be the "workhorse" instrument of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

The Wide Field and Planetary Camera marked the lab's first use of Charge-Coupled Detectors, or CCD's (now widely used in digital cameras), in a spaceflight project. However, when Space Shuttle Discovery deployed Hubble in 1990, images from the camera were blurry. After an investigation, NASA determined that the telescope's primary mirror, built for Hubble by a specialized optics company, was the wrong shape.

The primary mirror's flaw was correctible with different lenses in the wide field camera, and under JPL project manager Larry Simmons, lab engineers put corrective lenses and improved electronics into a copy of the camera already being prepared for a future servicing mission. Astronauts from Space Shuttle Endeavour replaced the original camera with the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 in December 1993. The camera enabled a wide variety of new discoveries, including evidence that the universe will expand forever, and it imaged the formation of new stars within pockets of gas and dust.

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