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Handprints on Hubble: An astronaut's story of invention

Join retired astronaut Kathryn Sullivan as she describes her work on the NASA team that made The Hubble Space Telescope.

NASA on The Commons via Flickr

Event description

The Hubble Telescope has revolutionised our understanding of the Universe. It has, among many other achievements, revealed thousands of galaxies in what seemed to be empty patches of sky and measured precisely how fast the universe is expanding.

In this talk, the first American woman to walk in space, Kathryn Sullivan, recounts how she helped launch, rescue and maintain Hubble, the most productive observatory ever built.Please note, Kathryn will be signing books and books only following the talk.

About the speaker

Kathryn D. Sullivan is a NASA astronaut (retired), former Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and an inductee in the Astronaut Hall of Fame.

Kathryn received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1973 and a doctorate from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, in 1978. While at Dalhousie she participated in several oceanographic expeditions that studied the floors of the and Pacific oceans.

She was selected as an astronaut by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Her first spaceflight was aboard the space shuttle 'Challenger' on the STS-41G mission.


The doors will open at approximately 6.30pm, with a prompt start at 7.00pm. There will be time for questions after the talk.

Latecomers will be admitted into the gallery.

Book signing

Copies of Kathryn's book, 'Handprints on Hubble: An Astronaut's Story of Invention', will be available for purchase and signing after the talk. 


This event will be filmed and on the Ri's YouTube channel within a few months. Subscribe for free to hear when new videos are released.


The theatre is on the first floor and there is step-free access from the street via lift.

The closest underground station is Green Park, which is step-free.

There is space at floor level in the theatre for wheelchair users.

Seating is usually unreserved for our events. If you and your group require seating reservations, please do let us know by email and we’ll be more than happy to help. Email:

Carers can receive a free ticket to an event by emailing

Our theatre is equipped with an Audio Induction Loop.