Feeds

NASA goes for Hubble back-up boot-up

'Wakey wakey, Side B Control Unit'

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

NASA will this morning attempt to boot up the Hubble space telescope's redundant Side B Control Unit/Science Data Formatter (CU/SDF) following the failure last month of its operational Side A counterpart which blinded the 'scope.

The microprocessor-based CU/SDF is critical to Hubble's operation because it receives data from the telescope's five main instruments and formats it for transmission to Earth. The Side B back-up has not been fired up since Hubble went aloft 18 years ago, but if it can be coaxed into life, the flying eye could be back in action by the end of the week.

According to the Guardian, Hubble programme manager Art Whipple said: "It is obviously a possibility that things will not come up [but] there's very little ageing that goes on with an unpowered component in space."

Whatever the outcome, the space shuttle Atlantis mission STS-125 - the final servicing trip to Hubble - has already been knocked back to next year. The 11-day jaunt will involve five space walks designed to extend the 'scope's life by a further five years.

The crew's schedule includes maintenance on the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph, as well as equipping Hubble with the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph - designed to "observe the light put out by extremely faint, far-away quasars and see how that light changes as it passes through the intervening gas between distant galaxies".

The team will also fit the new Wide Field Camera 3, which at ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths "represents a dramatic improvement in capability over all previous Hubble cameras". ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket
Space Launch System would need another $400m and a lot of time
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.