WASHINGTON (AP) _ NASA rejected a bidder on the Hubble Space Telescope that planned tests to detect focusing flaws and instead picked a company that proposed no such tests and made mirrors with a fuzzy view of the universe, a space agency official says.

Eastman Kodak Co., in its effort to win the contract to build the Hubble mirrors, proposed a ''final assembly testing'' of the telescope optics, NASA Deputy Administrator James R. Thompson told a Senate panel Tuesday.

NASA, however, gave the contract to Perkin-Elmer Corp., now Hughes Danbury Optical Systems Inc., which did not plan the fully assembled tests, and the agency chose not to order the tests because they were so expensive, Thompson said.

The Hubble Telescope, now in orbit, is disabled because of a focusing flaw that might have been found by tests proposed in the Kodak bid.

''In retrospect, perhaps an all-systems test could have been done or should have been done,'' Thompson told the science and space subcommittee.

Officials of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration declined to say why Perkin-Elmer was selected for the Hubble contract, but NASA spokesman Bill Sheehan said ''Perkin-Elmer had, on balance, more strength.''

Perkin-Elmer's experience in building spy satellites may have been a factor, other sources said.

The Danbury, Conn., firm's winning bid in 1977 was for $63.4 million, but the total value of the contract swelled through cost overruns and changes to $451 million. Almost $20 million of that was paid by NASA as award fees, which are given based on performance evaluation.

Stephen Beale, a NASA procurement officer, said an additional $4.3 million in award fees for the company are under consideration.

Sen. Albert Gore, D-Tenn., who chaired the hearing, charged that NASA's recent problems with a crippled telescope and a space shuttle fleet grounded by hydrogen leaks may be related to an agency ''mindset to reject any pessimistic news.''

Gore said Congress was ''no longer going to be satisfied'' with what he called ''NASA's proclivity to shoot the messenger and not give credence to troublesome studies.''

He said the agency, for instance, rejected some studies predicting that within the next decade there could be another accident like the Challenge explosion that killed seven astronauts in 1986.

Thompson, in a heated exchange, called the charge unfair.

He said NASA recognized that there are risks in space flight and that another space shuttle could be lost eventually.

''If you fly 100 times and I tell you that we're not going to lose another one, that wouldn't pass the sanity test,'' said Thompson. ''If we fly 100 more, we may lose another one.''

But he added: ''I think the chance is very, very low with the team we have in place.''

Meanwhile, Hubble Space Telescope experts told a news conference that they have moved closer to determining which of two mirrors on the observatory spacecraft had been cut to the wrong prescription.

''All of the evidence is beginning to point toward the primary mirror and not the secondary mirror,'' said Ed Weiler, chief project scientist for the Hubble.

The telescope has two mirrors, a 94-inch primary and a 12-inch secondary, that are suspects in the focusing flaw that has handicapped Hubble. Experts are working to determine which mirror is flawed. This will help make corrective optics for a replacement camera that will be installed by 1993.

If the primary mirror is at fault, Weiler said, it will be easier to correct than if the problem was in the secondary mirror. The secondary mirror reflects light from the primary mirror into the telescope's instruments.