Getting Hubble Back To Work
Andrea Thompson at Space.com reported over the weekend that Hubble was slowly getting back on track.
One week after two anomalous events caused a snag in NASA’s attempt to revive the Hubble Space Telescope, the orbital observatory is nearly back up and running, with science operations set to resume this weekend.
“We are up to the same place we were at about 8 o’clock Wednesday night of last week,” with the telescope control systems running, but its instruments still in safe mode, said Art Whipple, manager of the Hubble Systems Management Office at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
Better. Much better. They still don’t know what caused the communications drop between HST’s main computer and the payload computer (which controls the science instruments) and caused the SDF side B to reset. It’s officially being called “an electrical event”, origin unknown. But since the Science Data Formatter Side A is permanently kurfluey, the reset caused concern that some damage might have been done by the “electrical event”.
Over this past weekend NASA and STScI engineers determined, however, that there was no further damage, and they could proceed with bringing HST out of safe-mode and resume science.
Whipple said that “it is possible that we may see another event of this type in the future.”
Fortunately, the electrical event “does not appear to have done any permanent damage,” Whipple said.
Already, revisions to the next Hubble Repair Mission are in the works. Both SDF Sides A and B will be replaced, and they are all ready to install a new generation camera (the WFPC-3), add a new spectrogragh, fix the old one (STIS), replace (for the umteenth time) gyroscopes and batteries, and also upgrade Hubbles guidance equipment.