Quoted from Space News, the payload computer at Hubble has stopped working since June 13th. The team of engineers speculated that the computer used to manage the operations of the Hubble science instrument malfunctioned due to a memory module decline, putting the instrument into safe mode.
NASA said they immediately replaced the spare memory module the same day the problem was detected. After about a day of testing, they restarted the instrument and resumed science observations.
However, in his statement on June 18, NASA says the attempt to switch to the spare memory module failed because the backup restart command failed to complete. Attempts to restore the computer with the original memory module and spare unit also failed.
NASA did not specify the next steps needed to fix the issue. They simply stated that the operations team would run tests and gather more information about the system to isolate the problem further. As for the instrument Hubble yourself and other telescopes, stay healthy.
Payload computers are 1980s systems that can use one of four memory modules, each containing 64 kilobytes of complementary metal oxide semiconductor memory. A backup computer is also available.
This is not the first technical glitch Hubble launched 31 years ago. In March, Hubble experienced problems with software updates. Earlier in October 2018, a faulty gyro component took the telescope offline for three weeks.
“We did have an anomaly. It happened when we had a decades-old observatory, but we’ve been able to work around that anomaly,” said Nancy Levenson, deputy director of the Space Telescope Science Institute.
He stressed that the telescope, in general, worked well and remained useful to astronomers. The agency in charge of Hubble’s science operations and the James Webb Space Telescope, made plans to extend Hubble’s operations.
“We continue to plan for the very long term,” he said. One example he gave was COS 2030, a program to extend the life of the Cosmic Origin Spectrograph, an instrument mounted on Hubble on the last service mission in 2009, until the end of the decade.
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(rns / fyk)