NASA has stated that it will undertake a ‘risky’ maneuver to repair the Hubble space telescope, which is 31 years old, later today.
On June 13, Hubble fell offline owing to a unexplained issue that brought down one of its primary computers.
However, NASA claims to have found the source of the issue: a malfunctioning power regulator in the computer’s Power Control Unit (PCU).
Starting Thursday (July 15), it will attempt to transfer to a backup PCU, which, if successful, will return Hubble to normal science operations in’several days.’
Hubble has been surveying the universe for nearly three decades as a collaborative mission of NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
It has taken over 1.5 million observations of the universe since its debut in April 1990, and over 18,000 research articles have been written using its data.
It travels at a speed of roughly 17,000 miles per hour (27,300 kilometers per hour) in low Earth orbit at a height of about 340 miles, somewhat higher than the International Space Station (ISS).
NASA has downplayed claims that the Hubble space telescope is “beyond repair,” claiming that there are several alternatives for repairing it weeks after it was shut down due to a computer fault.
Astronauts F and G are pictured.
HUBBLE: FACTS AND STATS Launch: April 24, 1990, from Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-31) Deployment: April 25, 1990 First image: May 20, 1990: Star cluster NGC 3532 Length: 43.5 ft.
‘NASA has found a likely cause for the payload computer malfunction that caused Hubble Space Telescope science activities to be terminated on June 13,’ the agency adds.
‘The telescope and science instruments are healthy and in a safe configuration,’ NASA said. The payload computer is housed in the Science Instrument Command and Data Handling (SI C&DH) unit, which is responsible for controlling, coordinating, and monitoring Hubble’s science instruments.
‘When Hubble’s science instruments were immediately shifted into a safe position when the payload computer ceased,’ it explains.
‘A series of multi-day tests were unsuccessful, including attempts to restart and reconfigure the computer and the backup computer.
‘But, the Hubble team has determined that the possible cause of the problem is in the Power Control Unit (PCU) based on the information received from those activities.’ Hubble engineers will switch to the backup side of the SI C&DH unit, which contains the backup PCU.
Nevertheless, since it was installed in 2009 during Hubble’s last servicing trip, the backup computer, which NASA thinks will cure the problem, had not been turned on.
On July 14, 2021, NASA stated that it had determined the possible source of the payload computer malfunction that had forced Hubble’s science operations to be halted on June 13th. Hubble was launched from the space shuttle Discovery on April 25, 1990.
Hubble, a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), was launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on the space shuttle Discovery in April 1990 with a 10-year projected lifespan. Hubble has been viewing the universe for nearly 30 years. WHAT HAS NASA TRYED SO FAR TO FIX THE PROBLEM?
On June 16, the Hubble operations team attempted to switch to one of the payload computer’s backup memory modules.
June 18: A restart attempt failed, and the memory module was ruled out as the cause of the shutdown.
Memory problems were discovered to be a indication of a larger problem on June 22.
Tests to ensure that the Central Processing Module is working properly.
The issue was not resolved after an effort to turn on the backup computer on June 25.
The Command Unit/Science Data Formatter is currently being investigated.
June 30: Further testing of the Scientific Instrument Command and Data Handling unit, which houses the payload computer, as well as creating a means to switch to the backup computer altogether.
Switching to a backup unit safely is also a’very risky operation,’ NASA previously stated.
Former NASA space shuttle pilot Clayton C Anderson expressed concerns earlier this month that Hubble was ‘beyond repair’ or would be decommissioned as a result of the problem, which the space agency had to refute.
NASA emphasized that the telescope is still functional, telling MailOnline that it has “several redundancies on board and hence solutions available to remedy this issue.”
NASA is ‘confident’ that it will be able to get Hubble back up and running, and that all onboard observation equipment is in’safe mode’ and functioning normally.
Engineers have tried a variety of methods to restart the payload computer, including swapping to a backup memory module, restarting the machine, and turning on a backup version of the payload computer, but none of them have worked.
This week, NASA’s astrophysics division head, Paul Hertz, told Business Insider that the problem is ‘very probably’ related to Hubble’s age.
‘Someday, a component will fail at random and we won’t have a backup,’ he predicted.
‘That’s the most likely way the Hubble mission will end,’ according to FermiLab director and top physicist Don Lincoln, who told CNN that while this ‘may be the end of Hubble’s narrative,’ he couldn’t disregard NASA engineers’ resourcefulness.
This isn’t Hubble’s first difficulty; the telescope has had a number of issues that have necessitated repairs or hardware backups since its launch in 1990.
‘A similar swap was made in 2008, allowing Hubble to resume normal science operations when a CU/SDF module failed,’ NASA stated.
HUBBLE SERVICING MISSIONS – Servicing Mission 1 (STS-61): December 1993 – Servicing Mission 2 (STS-82): February 1997 – Servicing Mission 3A (STS-103): December 1999 – Servicing Mission 3B (STS-109): February 2002
These discoveries continue to alter our perceptions of the universe.
Professor Gaensicke of Warwick University told MailOnline, “It’s probably been one of the most essential equipment astronomers have ever had.”
‘Since Hubble is in space, it can take super-sharp photographs that reveal fine structures that would normally be invisible because it is not influenced by the Earth’s fuzzy atmosphere.’
‘And those photographs are of remarkable beauty, too, so Hubble is almost likely the best-known telescope among the general public, and many, many people have been admiring the magnificent pictures Hubble took.’ Hubble recently celebrated its 31st anniversary in space with an image of a huge star on the verge of extinction.
Hubble was one of the most successful space missions ever launched, according to Affelia Wibisono of the UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory.
Hubble has provided us with some of the best and most iconic photographs of planets in our own solar system, including Saturn (shown). KEY DISCOVERIES MADE WITH HUBBLE The Hubble space telescope was launched into low Earth orbit in 1990 and has since changed our understanding of the universe.
Images of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9’s debris left behind when it impacted with Jupiter.
By surveying the galaxy M87, Hubble delivered the first solid evidence of the presence of supermassive black holes in galaxies.
Exoplanets’ atmospheres were studied for elements, providing insight into worlds outside our solar system.
A year after being demoted to dwarf planet status, Hubble measurements revealed that Eris is really larger than Pluto.
Images of faraway galaxies taken when the cosmos was less than a tenth of the age it is now.
Through observations of proto-planetary discs in faraway systems, we were able to learn more about how planets originate.
‘It has revolutionized our view of the universe,’ the doctoral student added, “from discovering new moons surrounding Pluto to taking the first visible image of a planet orbiting a star other than the Sun.”
It has also aided in the creation of a three-dimensional map of dark matter and the discovery that every galaxy has a black hole at its center.
‘Hubble has forced astronomers to rewrite textbooks,’ says one observer.
It would be considerably more difficult for me to undertake my research on Jupiter’s northern and southern lights without the Hubble Space Telescope,’ Wibisono remarked.
The US space agency will replace the Hubble with the $10 billion James Webb Telescope, which has been plagued by delays since its inception in the 1990s.
Professor Gaensicke is optimistic that Hubble will be able to continue operating even after the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope in October.
‘The James Webb Telescope, or JWST, which is set to launch later this year, is frequently referred to as Hubble’s successor – which it isn’t,’ he told MailOnline.
‘It will be more specialized than Hubble, and will only be sensitive to infrared light, which is light that is so red that human eyes cannot detect it.’
‘As a result, many of the fantastic things Hubble can accomplish, JWST won’t be able to carry on,’ said Professor Peter Wheatley of the University of Warwick Department of Physics, when asked if he thinks this is the end of Hubble. ‘Especially when many of us at Warwick have observations set to be carried out with Hubble,’ he told MailOnline.
Astronomers are spotlighting a Hubble image of an immense bubble being pushed into space by a super-hot, massive star for NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope’s 26th birthday. The Crab Nebula is a supernova remnant in the Milky Way, recorded in its magnificent color and brightness by Hubble ‘It is apparent, though, that Hubble is beginning to show its age, and we do need to be prepared for that fact.
‘That’ll be a rude awakening for most of us, because Hubble has been operational for most of our lives, and we’ve learned to expect it.’
‘Although other space telescopes have come and gone, Hubble has been a consistent presence.’ In the Hubble photograph, the huge red nebula (NGC 2014) and its smaller blue neighbor (NGC 2020) are part of a vast star-forming area in the Large Magellanic Cloud. NASA DELAYS JAMES WEBB TELESCOPE AGAIN
The launch will take place ‘no sooner than October 31 this year,’ according to a NASA spokesperson who informed DailyMail.com in early June.
In an email to DailyMail.com, a NASA spokeswoman said, ‘Webb will ship to the launch site in August with little to no scheduling margin.’
‘The launch will take two months to process.’
All of the observatory’s post-environmental testing deployments have been completed, and it’s now in the final stages of integration and folding.
The telescope’s final stow, closeout, and pack and ship are approaching.’ The telescope has been delayed multiple times; when work began in 1996, it was expected to be ready in 2007.
The Covid epidemic in 2020 caused testing to be postponed once more.
The telescope will be entrusted with identifying potential signs of life on distant planets once it is completed.
When Hubble was launched aboard the space shuttle Discovery from Kennedy Space Center in Florida in April 1990, the NASA predicted a ten-year lifespan.
It is named after astronomer Edwin Hubble, who was born in Missouri in 1889 and is credited with discovering that the universe is expanding and the rate at which it is expanding.
Hubble has a aiming precision of.007 arc seconds, equivalent to shining a laser beam focused on the Queen’s head on a coin 200 miles (320 kilometers) away.
Astronauts visited Hubble five times between 1993 and 2009 to replace limited-life equipment including batteries, gyroscopes, and electronic boxes, as well as to install cutting-edge science instruments.
Each time astronauts visited Hubble, they left it a more capable, productive observatory that could be controlled from Earth.
Captain Richard Covey and his crew completed the first service mission in December 1993, installing hardware to correct a eyesight impairment caused by a misshaped mirror.
Because of the problem, the telescope was unable to focus all of an object’s light into a single sharp point, resulting in a hazy halo.
Cameras that could view infrared light were installed on future flights, allowing astronomers to glimpse more distant galaxies.
Additional trips were intended to address faults on board, such as the failure of three gyroscopes and the necessity to realign the solar panels.
In addition to replacing the gyroscopes, the 1999 expedition included the installation of an improved central computer, a digital data recorder, and battery upgrades, thereby making the telescope “as good as new.”
Kathryn C. is an astronaut from the United States.
Thornton, on the end of the Space Shuttle Endeavor’s Remote Manipulator System (RMS) arm, hovers over Hubble Space Telescope (HST) equipment during the second space walk of the eleven-day STS-61 mission in December 1993. This is a mosaic of Hubble photos showing a swirling zone of star birth in a part of the Monkey Head Nebula The last service mission, on Space Shuttle Atlantis
Five spacewalks were required to install two new equipment, including the iconic Wide Field Camera, which was made 100 times more powerful than when it was first launched.
There was also a difficulty with the systems that control the science instruments, which was comparable to the current problems with the telescope.
This resulted in the installation of a new set of systems, as well as additional backups that could be handled from the ground, inside the telescope.
They also installed a new mechanism called the Soft Capture Mechanism on that final mission, which allows a robotic spacecraft to attach itself to Hubble and either push it into the Earth or propel it to a higher orbit so it can operate for longer.