Hubble’s Hurting, Bad
The Patient Is Not Communicating
Nancy Atkinson at Universe Today and Chris Bergin at NASA Space Flight.com have reported that there was a major failure of the Hubble Space Telescope’s communication system over the weekend, leaving it unable to send signals back to the ground. Science operations have been shut down.
The good news, if there’s any to be had here, is that this is half of the redundant system. By later this week, mission engineers will attempt to turn on the “B-side” and resume a nominal communications status. The bad news is that it’s not kosher for NASA to allow the system to run indefinitely without redundancy. The better news is that a repair mission has been scheduled to refurbish HST in a major way. The worse news is that this particular job wasn’t part of the deal, and the repair mission will need to be re-scheduled into next year if it has to be done.
The worst news hasn’t happened yet. That would be if mission engineers can’t get the “B-side” to come up, which would mean the effective end of the mission – the end of Hubble.