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Hubble about to resume science operations even with new issues

Engineers have fixed the computer software issue that caused the Hubble Space Telescope to go into safe mode this week, and are preparing it to return to full science operations.

It appears the problem was caused by a software upgrade that caused a conflict.

More serious however was this problem, which could have damaged the telescope beyond repair had it had been randomly pointed at the Sun during safe mode.

In entering safe mode on Sunday, however, the team discovered that the aperture door located at the top of the telescope failed to automatically close. This door is a safeguard designed to keep the Sun’s damaging light and heat out of the telescope’s interior, protecting its sensitive instruments and their surroundings. It serves as a safety net if Hubble accidently points in the direction of the Sun due to an error or hardware problem.

…The team has looked at spacecraft engineering data, run various tests, and verified that the door did indeed remain open despite the commands and power being sent to close it. Additional attempts to move the door by sending commands from the ground to its primary motor also failed to make the door move. However, the same commands sent from the ground to its backup motor did indicate movement, and that motor is now set as the primary motor. The team is looking at options to further reduce any associated risk.

It appears the primary motor that moves the door has failed. Fortunately there is a backup motor, but this is just one more item where the telescope has lost redundancy. We are very lucky that during safe mode the telescope didn’t end up pointing at the Sun, even for a very short time, for that would have ended Hubble’s operation for good. I suspect the safe mode software includes protections against that occurrence, but the possibility nonetheless existed.

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 available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors. The ebook can 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. Note that the price for the ebook, $3.99, goes up to $5.99 on September 1, 2022.

 

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

3 comments

  • Jeff Wright

    This is why the growing numbers of cameras on spacecraft is a good thing. A final minicam sat watches the main bus of a probe re-enter, lasering the image back before it’s toast.

  • eddie willers

    This is why the growing numbers of cameras on spacecraft is a good thing.

    One of the early satire sites (I can’t remember if it was the Onion or the Bee) had a picture of Hubble with the “story” being that scientists were angry that Hubble kept taking “selfies” instead of its real job.

    Guess you had to be there.

  • Star Bird

    I was wondering what ever happened with Hubble i thought it might have gone dead or fell into Black Hole

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