Barbara Mikulski donates space collection to the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore

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The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, is pleased to announce that retired US Senator Barbara A. Mikulski is donating her collection of space memorabilia to STScI. The collection includes framed astronomical pictures, photos, illustrations and models. Also included in the collection are signed presentation plaques from the crews of two Hubble Space Telescope maintenance missions, who thanked Senator Mikulski for their assistance.

Senator Mikulski, the longest-serving woman in US Congress history, was one of Hubble’s biggest cheerleaders and a staunch supporter of the Space Telescope and STScI. As a senator, she championed Hubble and the next-generation space telescope, now called the James Webb Space Telescope. When the last scheduled Hubble servicing mission was canceled in 2004, Mikulski helped lead the cause to resume the Hubble repair visit. The repairs made on this maintenance mission were critical to making Hubble work today. She is also completing her tenure as Johns Hopkins Professor of Public Policy and Advisor to the University’s President this spring semester.

“I am very excited that the Space Telescope Science Institute will be the new home of my space collection here on the Johns Hopkins campus,” said Mikulski. “During my time in Congress, I have had the honor of helping all of the extraordinary men and women who have made our space program the best in the world, and the epicenter for astronomy and astrophysics was Baltimore’s own Space Telescope Science Institute.”

She continued, “From the scientists who teach us about dark matter and the origins of the universe, to the creative graphic artists who connect Hubble’s stunning images to the world’s classrooms, to all the valuable support staff who keep operations running non-stop keep it going – you all have made the Institute the world-class facility it is today. I feel like I’ve been a part of this talented team all these years, so the Home of Hubble and now Mission Control for Webb seems like the ideal place to work permanently and share my space memories and memorabilia.”

The Space Telescope Science Institute honored Senator Mikulski in 2012 by naming the world’s largest astronomical data archive after her. Dubbed the Barbara A. Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes, or MAST, the massive database contains astronomical observations from several NASA space astronomy missions, including Hubble, as well as some ground-based observatories. Mikulski received another honor in 2012 when a distant, exploding star observed by Hubble was named Supernova Mikulski.

“We are pleased and honored to house Senator Mikulski’s collection of space memorabilia here at the Space Telescope Science Institute, where service and science are integral elements of our mission to help humankind explore the universe with advanced space telescopes and their eponymous data archive to help,” said STScI director Kenneth Sembach. “We value their ongoing relationship with the institute and our staff. Her unparalleled efforts to advance astronomical research and her legacy of achievement embodied in this collection serve as an inspiration and reminder to all who see that when we work together and reach for the stars, anything is possible.”

The items donated by Senator Mikulski will be displayed in the lobby and library of the Muller Building on Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood campus.

The Space Telescope Science Institute pushes the frontiers of space astronomy by housing the Hubble Space Telescope Science Operations Center, the James Webb Space Telescope Science and Mission Operations Centers, and the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope Science Operations Center. STScI also hosts the Barbara A. Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST), a NASA-funded project to support and make available a variety of astronomical data archives to the astronomical community, and the data archive for Hubble, Webb, Roman, Kepler, K2, TESS missions and more. STScI is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy in Washington, DC

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