Originally Posted by Squark
I KNOW False Emperor and Battle of Ilum have hard modes available from the get-go (In fact, you can do False Emperor before you do battle of Ilum), and the same is true of Kaon under Siege.
Directive 7 may require you to drop the [GROUP] quest, and then pick it up as a hard mode from the droid outside the instance. You can use the same trick with Boarding Party/Taral V and The Maelstrom/The Foundry if you haven't completed them before level 50. But you can (with the aforementioned trick) do it as a hard mode form the beginning.
This is correct. All hard modes should be available once you hit 50. Some will require that you get the story quest first (which in turn, automagically gives players the [GROUP] quest). I suspect this is where a lot of the "must complete normal before hard" confusion arises.
That being said, I would strongly suggest you save Directive 7 for last, as it's a bit buggy, and you'll need strong and attentive DPS to handle the shield robot.