Fact Check: Post Does NOT Show Hubble Telescope And A Satellite

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: Post Does NOT Show Hubble Telescope And A Satellite Up up and away

Do two images in a social media post show the Hubble Telescope and a satellite? No, that's not true: The Instagram post shows a NASA observatory plane, and a balloon that was used to provide mobile Internet service in Africa.

The claim appeared in an Instagram post on October 20, 2021, with a picture of a NASA plane and an internet balloon. It opens:

Globetards be like 'But they told me the "G" in GPS means Global, so earth must be a spinning space ball' ... 'Why would they lie to me!'

This is what the post looked like on Instagram on October 20, 2021:

hubble and parachute final.jpg

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Oct 21 2021 13:37:55 UTC 2021)

The top image in the post isn't the Hubble Telescope; it's a modified Boeing 747 used by NASA to study the solar system from high in the atmosphere. It's called SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy:


(Source: NASA/Jim Ross)

This is what the Hubble Telescope looks like as it orbits the Earth:

hubble_faq_image final.jpg

(Source: NASA)

The second image in the post isn't a satellite; it's a giant balloon, one of many that were used to bring internet service to remote areas of Kenya. It was a joint venture between Kenya TelKom and Google sister company Loon that shut down in early 2021.


(Source: Loon)

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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