Hubble Hassle – NASA Is Working To Repair Their Getting old Area Telescope – Watts With It?

Perhaps if they cut the climate budget, NASA scientists wouldn’t have to spend as much time struggling with the aging Hubble platform.

Work in progress to restore the payload computer of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope is deployed from the space shuttle Discovery on April 25, 1990. Hubble avoids distortion of the atmosphere and has an unobstructed view of planets, stars and galaxies, some of which are more than 13.4 billion light years away. Sources: NASA / Smithsonian Institution / Lockheed Corporation

July 15, 2021 – NASA begins moving to spacecraft backup hardware

Today, in response to an ongoing problem with its payload computer, NASA began moving to backup hardware for spacecraft on Hubble. This will be a multi-day event. If successful, the next step is to put scientific instruments back into operation.

July 14, 2021 – NASA identifies possible cause of Hubble computer problem

NASA has identified the possible cause of the payload computer problem that interrupted the Hubble Space Telescope’s scientific operations on June 13th. The telescope itself and the scientific instruments remain intact and in a safe configuration.

The payload computer is located in the Science Instrument Command and Data Handling (SI C&DH) unit. It controls, coordinates and monitors Hubble’s scientific instruments. When the payload computer stopped, Hubble’s scientific instruments were automatically placed in a secure configuration. A series of multi-day tests that included attempts to restart and reconfigure the computer and the backup computer were unsuccessful, but the information gathered during these activities led the Hubble team to determine that the possible cause was the problem in the power control unit (PCU).

The PCU is also on the SI C&DH unit. It ensures a constant voltage supply for the hardware of the payload computer. The PCU contains a power regulator that supplies the payload computer and its memory with a constant five volts of current. A secondary protection circuit detects the voltage levels leaving the power regulator. If the voltage falls below or exceeds the permissible values, this secondary circuit informs the payload computer that it should stop operating. The team’s analysis suggests that either the regulator’s voltage level is outside the acceptable range (causing the secondary protection circuit to trip) or that the secondary protection circuit has degraded over time and is stuck in this lockout state.

Since no ground commands were able to reset the PCU, the Hubble team will switch to the backup side of the SI C&DH unit, which contains the backup PCU. All testing of the procedures for the switch and associated reviews have been completed and NASA management has given clearance to proceed. The transition will begin on Thursday, July 15, and if successful, it will take several days for the observatory to be fully restored to normal scientific operations.

The team made a similar move in 2008 that allowed Hubble to resume normal scientific operations after a Command Unit / Science Data Formatter (CU / SDF) module, another part of the SI C&DH, failed. During a service call in 2009, the entire SI C & DH unit, including the defective CU / SDF module, was replaced by the currently used SI C & DH unit.

Hubble was founded in 1990 and has been watching the universe for over 31 years. It has made over 1.5 million observations of the universe and published over 18,000 scientific papers using its data. It has contributed to some of the most significant discoveries of our cosmos, including the accelerated expansion of the universe, the evolution of galaxies over time, and the first atmospheric studies of planets outside our solar system. Read about some of Hubble’s greatest scientific discoveries.

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NASA has done some notable feats over the years, like restoring communications with its lost IMAGE mission after an amateur astronomer stumbled upon it while scanning the night sky. IMAGE was believed lost in 2007 due to a suspected power failure.

So it seems quite possible that they will bring Hubble back up and running. In the end.

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