NASA Continues to Try and Rescue Failing Hubble – Universe Today

Things are usually not trying excellent for the Hubble Space Telescope proper now. On Sunday, June 13th, the telescope’s payload pc instantly stopped working, prompting the primary pc to put the telescope into protected mode. While the telescope itself and its science devices stay in working order, science operations have been suspended till the operations staff can determine how to get the payload pc again on-line.
While making an attempt to restart the pc, the operations staff has additionally tried to hint the difficulty to particular parts within the payload pc and change to their backup modules. As of June 30th, the staff started trying into the Command Unit/Science Data Formatter (CU/SDF) and the Power Control Unit (PCU). Meanwhile, NASA is busy making ready and testing procedures to change to backup {hardware} if both of those parts are the wrongdoer.

The payload pc is a part of the Science Instrument Command and Data Handling (SI C&DH) unit, the place it’s accountable for controlling and coordinating the scientific devices aboard the spacecraft. The present points started when the primary pc stopped receiving the “keep-alive” sign from the payload pc – which lets the primary pc know that every thing is working.
The Hubble Space Telescope being launched from the cargo bay of the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1990. Credit: NASAThat’s when the operations staff started investigating completely different items of {hardware} on the SI C&DH because the potential supply. Based on the accessible knowledge, the staff initially thought that the issue was due to a degrading reminiscence module and tried to change to one of many module’s a number of backups – however met with failure. On the night of Thursday, June 17th, one other try was made to convey each modules again on-line, however these makes an attempt additionally led to failure.
At that time, they started trying into different possibles sources of the shutdown, just like the Standard Interface (STINT) {hardware}. This element is accountable for bridging communications between the pc’s Central Processing Module (CPM), which they started investigating as properly. Now, the staff is investigating the Command Unit/Science Data Formatter (CU/SDF) and an influence regulator inside the Power Control Unit (PCU).
Whereas the CU/SDF sends and codecs instructions and knowledge whereas the PCU is designed to guarantee a gentle voltage provide to the payload pc’s {hardware}. If both of those techniques is accountable for the shutdown, then the staff should as soon as once more undergo an operations process to change to the backup items. This time, nevertheless, the process is extra complicated and dangerous than those the staff executed final time.
Mainly, switching to the backup CU/SDF or backup energy regulator requires that a number of different {hardware} bins want to be switched to their backups due to the way in which they’re linked to the SI C&DH unit. The final time the operations staff carried out this process was again in 2008, which was the final time the CU/SDF module failed. This is what prompted the ultimate servicing mission in 2009, which changed all the SI C&DH unit.
Astronaut Mike Good working to restore the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) through the ultimate Hubble servicing mission in May 2009. Credit: NASAGiven the complexity of switching a number of techniques over to their backups, the operations staff is at present reviewing and updating all of Hubble‘s operations procedures, instructions, and all different gadgets relating to switching to backup {hardware}. When they’re completed (anticipated for subsequent week) the staff will run a excessive-constancy simulator to take a look at their plan of execution and see if they’ll pull it off.
Since Hubble first launched in 1990, it has taken over 1.5 million photos, and greater than 600,000 of these have been taken since its final servicing mission in 2009. These photos are a few of the most breathtaking views of the Universe ever taken and have led to substantial discoveries concerning the nature of our Universe. Here at house, it has deepened our understanding of the Kuiper Belt and Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs) like Pluto and Eris.
In 2014, it additionally noticed the farthest object to ever be visited by a spacecraft – the Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) Arrokoth, which the New Horizons mission made a detailed move with on Jan. 1st, 2019. It additionally noticed aurora within the atmospheres of Jupiter, and Saturn, in addition to Jupiter’s moon Ganymede. Hubble can be accountable for offering the info that led astronomers to conclude that Ganymede doubtless incorporates a big saltwater ocean in its inside.
Beyond the Solar System, Hubble has aided within the first atmospheric research of exoplanets, helped constrain the dimensions and mass of the Milky Way, the evolution of galaxies over time, revealed the accelerating enlargement of the Universe (main to the idea of Dark Energy), and aided within the research of Dark Matter. These and different accomplishments are all a part of Hubble‘s legacy because it celebrates being in house for 31 years, 2 months, and both days.
I believe I converse for everybody after I want Hubble a speedy restoration and hope it has a couple of extra years left in her!

Further Reading: NASA
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