The Hubble Space Telescope has a tentative launch date of November 17, 1988, according to an announcement made October 3, 1986, by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The plan calls for the first shuttle launch to take place on February 18, 1988, when Discovery is slated to launch a second Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS). A TDRS satellite was aboard Challenger when it exploded on January 28, 1986.

The $1.3 billion telescope would be launched aboard the fifth shuttle mission in 1988. After launching the TDRS satellite, NASA plans to send Atlantis and then Columbia spacebound with military payloads. In September 1988, Discovery would be launched again with a third TDRS satellite.