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Engineers report Hubble fix appears successfully

Engineers this morning announced that their attempt to switch to backup computer hardware on the Hubble Space Telescope was successful.

The switch included bringing online the backup Power Control Unit (PCU) and the backup Command Unit/Science Data Formatter (CU/SDF) on the other side of the Science Instrument and Command & Data Handling (SI C&DH) unit. The PCU distributes power to the SI C&DH components, and the CU/SDF sends and formats commands and data. In addition, other pieces of hardware onboard Hubble were switched to their alternate interfaces to connect to this backup side of the SI C&DH. Once these steps were completed, the backup payload computer on this same unit was turned on and loaded with flight software and brought up to normal operations mode.

They are now doing tests to make sure everything is working as expected, and preparing the telescope to bring it out of safe mode and resume science operations.

This is great news, but to bring everyone down to Earth, we must remember that Hubble no longer has any redundancy in this area. Should there be another similar computer failure, the telescope will then be dead in the water, with the only way to bring it back a manned or robotic mission — something we presently do not have the capacity to do — to replace these units.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • Mark

    In April, Bob mentioned that Sierra Nevada had plans to build a manned version of Dream Chaser. With that perhaps a NASA mission five years from now could launch a crewed mission to Hubble to replace sensors, navigation hardware and other aging components.

  • Tom D

    Isn’t the Dragon 2 available right now for this?

  • Edward

    Tom D Asked: “Isn’t the Dragon 2 available right now for this?

    It is hard to say.

    Dragon was not designed with this kind of mission in mind, so it does not have a Canadarm or other mount to hold relative position during the work, and Dragon does not have an airlock, so all the astronauts would have to be in spacesuits during the work. Since NASA is not studying this possibility, I suspect that they think Dragon is not suitable for the job. I suspect that Starliner has the same limitations.

  • George C

    When you look at the pictures from the previous Hubble servicing missions you can really see how Shuttle was like a space station on the go designed for working on things, big things, in space. Huge cargo hull, flat areas, big and stable. You can get those features in different ways from different craft you could assemble in space. But it would be designed for the purpose.

  • Dick Eagleson

    George C: Starship will be even more a “space station on the go” than was Shuttle.

    Mark: A manned version of Starship is likely to be ready far sooner than a manned version of Dream Chaser.

    The recent fixes to Hubble don’t have to last forever. If they last as little as three more years, the capability to fix it in some fashion via human intervention should once more be within the capabilities of the U.S.

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