The Great Observatories is a NASA nickname for the four largest space telescopes to date. Each covers a different portion of the electromagnetic spectrum:

  • The Hubble Space Telescope, the most famous of the four, was launched in 1990 and observes visible and near-ultraviolet light.
  • The Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, launched in 1991, observed gamma rays.
  • The Chandra X-ray Observatory, launched in 1999, observes x-rays.
  • The Spitzer Space Telescope, launched in 2003, observes infrared light.

Compton failed and was de-orbited in 2000. The other three are still in use today.

How do these four rank in the bytes of data collected? Please support your answer with citations or actual numbers, rather than speculating. (Logic would suggest that they rank in order of their years of service.)

  • $\begingroup$ BTW, the GRO only lost a level of redundancy and then NASA deorbited it. Never understood that one. "managers, worried that additional failures could leave the $617 million craft uncontrollable..." spaceflightnow.com/cgrodeorbit I guess it could have had large pieces reach the ground but "1-in-4 million chance someone could be killed by debris." seriously? $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Nov 17 '18 at 16:45

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