Looking Good –So Far — For Hubble

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So far, everything is going well and as planned for the Hubble Space Telescope’s long-distance ‘brain surgery.’ During the night of Oct. 15, Space Telescope Operations Control Center engineers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center successfully turned on and checked out Side B of Hubble’s Science Instrument Control and Data Handling (SIC&DH) system. Engineers were then able to retrieve the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) and Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) instruments. They were being held in safe mode, and were turned on, each showing they had a working interface to the Side B of SIC&DH. The instruments were then commanded back into safe mode, and then at noon today commands will be sent from Side B to each of the instruments. Engineers will then begin calibrations of the telescope’s science instruments, which they hope to finish before midnight Thursday. So this is good news…

The primary data handling system, Side A, had been used exclusively since HST launched in 1991. It failed two weeks ago. While engineers believed the redundant Side B – which hadn’t been turned on for over 18 years – would work, nothing was certain.

Scientists at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore should complete the check-out of all the instruments by noon on Friday, October 17. They will collecting and compare baseline exposures previously taken using Side A to new exposures, using by Side B. If everything looks good, everyone is hoping normal science observations will resume early Friday morning.

Wouldn’t that be great!

Source: NASA

11 Replies to “Looking Good –So Far — For Hubble”

  1. Good news….finally.
    Very exciting.

    Good luck IBEX and Chandrayaan 1 launch

    It’s been a good month for space science, with
    2 very impressive fly-bys, a couple of new probes being launched, and a Hubble fix.

    Cassini, MESSENGER, IBEX, Hubble – CONGRATS and Thank you

    Any news from Fermi?

  2. >> Any news from Fermi?

    Everything seems to be working fine. GBM is detecting lots of Gamma-Ray Bursts. LAT has also detected two. LAT has also significantly detected several active galaxies in outburst.

  3. Ah, yes, all the luck to the HST team!! Would be fantastic if Side B held up and worked all the way to the repair mission.

  4. Whoah!! That’s amazing, non-operational components functioning for the first time after 18 years…….wow!! 🙂

  5. Anyone know the cost of those SIC&DH units and who made them? The shear engineering feat of a redundant backup/failover computer system working after 18 years incredible. That would be horribly difficult in a modern data center much less in the harsh environment of Hubble’s +300 nm orbit.

  6. Hurray to the Hubble design team for their enormous forethought of a backup system and to the engineers who made it fail-safe…..
    Best wishes Hubble for more fantastic science!!!

  7. >> Whoah!! That’s amazing, non-operational components functioning for the first time after 18 years…….wow!! 🙂

    I agree with that statement. Well done to all involved.

  8. As an EE myself I know how difficult it can be to get the project managers and finance folks to approve the redundancy that should be included. Often you end up with so many compromises based only on the bottom line. Of course when something goes wrong the bean counters never step up!

    Congrats to the folks who designed and built HST . Your efforts are greatly appreciated by all of mankind.

  9. there is a relief! Way to go! That is pretty amazing after 18 years! We are flipping to the B side!!!

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