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The Hubble Space Telescope is back in full operation

The reboot was successful and allowed Hubble to return to full activity * On Saturday, it returned to almost full scientific activity, say NASA researchers

Hubble Space Telescope. came back to life
Hubble Space Telescope. came back to life

Engineers rebooted the computer that controls most of the instruments aboard the Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble became blind for three weeks due to a malfunction in a control unit that had to move the telescope to "safe mode". The malfunction occurred on the "A side" of a control system used to organize the information before it is transmitted to the CUSDF (Control Unit/Science Data Formatter). For this essential function there is a backup system, known as the second side, which is never used. Now the system operates using a "second party" and NASA is considering replacing it with a new system in the upgrade mission that was postponed until February 2009, so that in the five years that Hubble has left to operate (at least), it will have a working backup system.

Attempts to activate a backup system were halted last week due to an electrical fault, but tests show that no long-term damage was caused to the devices. The reboot activity will be resumed through the transfer to the "second side" of the information handling unit used by most of the spacecraft's scientific instruments. "If everything continues to function well, the science instruments will all be back up and running by the end of the week," says Arthur Whipple, from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

According to him, Hubble's Wide Field/Planetary Camera No. 2 began operating as early as Saturday morning and will return to producing scientific output almost immediately. Another important device, the advanced survey camera ACS will be back in action later this week, Hussey.

Hubble's central flight computer switched the instruments to safe mode on September 27, after a malfunction in the Instrument Control and Information Handling (SIC&DH) unit was detected. All scientific data passed through the unit before being transmitted to Earth. Because the unit was disabled, Hubble was temporarily blind, except for one type of observation. During the last few weeks, the engineers worked on moving the observatory's switches to side B, but the process was stopped twice due to anomalous events, including an electrical fault.

"We don't know what the exact cause is, because we don't have the ability to get to the severity. All we can say is that it appears to be an electrical fault," Whipple said. Such faults are not uncommon in electrical circuits that have been off for a long time. As I recall, this is the first time that these facilities have been activated during the entire 18 years that the telescope has been in space.

Due to this malfunction, the long-awaited flight STS-125 to upgrade the telescope, which was supposed to take off on October 14, was postponed, now it seems that it will take place in February at the earliest. During the five spacewalks, the astronauts will install two new instruments - the wide-field/planetary camera number 3 and a spectrograph that will track the origin of the universe. The astronauts will also install two other devices. The option of replacing the failed control unit is being considered to ensure Hubble has an active backup system for the control system. The telescope is planned to operate at least until 2014. NASA says that the exact date of the launch of the mission to upgrade the Hubble will be determined in mid-November.

A serious Hubble malfunction could cause the service mission to be delayed

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