2021-07-05

NASA continues to try to “save” the offline Hubble Space Telescope

By yqqlm yqqlm

NASA continues to try to “save” the offline Hubble Space Telescope

While trying to restart the computer, the operations team also Attempt to trace the problem to a specific component in the payload computer and switch to its backup module. As of June 30, the team began to study the command unit/scientific data formatter (CU/SDF) and power control unit (PCU). At the same time, NASA is busy preparing and testing procedures, and if any of these components is the “culprit” causing the failure, it will switch to the backup hardware.

The payload computer is part of the scientific instrument command and data processing (SI C&DH) unit, which is responsible for controlling and coordinating the scientific instruments on the spacecraft. The current problem starts when the host computer stops receiving the “keep online” signal from the payload computer-it lets the host computer know that everything is working.

The NASA operations team initially began investigating possible sources of different hardware on SI C&DH. Based on the available data, the team initially believed that the problem was caused by the degradation of the memory module, and tried to switch to one of the multiple backups of that module-but it failed. On the evening of June 17, the NASA team tried to bring two modules back online, but these attempts also failed.

At this point, they began to study other possible sources of shutdown, such as standard interface (STINT) hardware. This component is responsible for bridging the communication between the central processing module (CPM) of the computer, and they have also begun to investigate this. Now, the team is investigating a power regulator in the command unit/scientific data formatter (CU/SDF) and the power control unit (PCU).

The CU/SDF sends and formats commands and data, and the PCU is to ensure that the hardware of the payload computer provides a stable voltage. If either of these two systems is the cause of the shutdown, then the team must again pass an operating procedure to switch to the standby unit. However, this time, the procedure is more complicated and riskier than the procedure the team performed last time.

Mainly, switching to the standby CU/SDF or standby power conditioner needs to switch several other hardware boxes to their backup because of the way they are connected to the SI C&DH unit. The last time the operations team performed this task dates back to 2008, and this was also the last failure of the CU/SDF module. This is what prompted the last maintenance task in 2009, which replaced the entire SI C&DH unit.

In view of the complexity of switching multiple systems to its backup, the operations team is currently reviewing and updating all Hubble operating procedures, commands, and all other items related to switching to backup hardware. When they are finished (expected next week), the team will run a high-fidelity simulator to test their execution plan to see if they can complete it.

Since Hubble was first launched in 1990, it has taken more than 1.5 million pictures, of which more than 600,000 were taken during its last service mission in 2009. These images are the most breathtaking cosmic landscapes in history, and have led to substantial discoveries about the nature of our universe. In addition, it has deepened scientists’ understanding of the Kuiper Belt and Trans-Neptune objects (TNO) such as Pluto and Eris.

In 2014, it also observed the Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) Arrokoth, the farthest celestial body ever visited by a spacecraft. The “New Horizons” mission interacted with it on January 1, 2019. “Close contact.” It also observed aurora in the atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn, as well as Ganymede. Hubble was also responsible for providing data that led astronomers to conclude that Europa’s interior may contain a large amount of saltwater oceans.

Outside the solar system, Hubble assisted in the first atmospheric study of exoplanets, helping to limit the size and mass of the Milky Way galaxy, as well as the long-term evolution of galaxies, revealing the accelerated expansion of the universe (causing dark Energy theory) and assisted in the research of dark matter. These and other achievements are part of Hubble’s legacy as it celebrates 31 years, 2 months and 1 day spent in space.