The worst glitch in the history of the Hubble Space Telescope might finally come to an end soon as NASA engineers think they have finally identified the reason an onboard computer stopped working over a month ago.
Hubble Space Telescope's recent glitch has stumped engineers for weeks and led to the science instruments being put in "safe mode" or shut down for the meantime as they try to fix the glitch.
They are planning to switch the backup hardware on Thursday, July 15, in an attempt to bring the Hubble Space Telescope back online, according to BBC News.
NASA Completes Formal Review of Procedures to Turn the Hubble Space Telescope Back Online
NASA engineers pore over the moth-eaten manuals of the Hubble Space Telescope in an effort to find the cause of the computer glitch and fix it, The Register reported. The formal review comes after more than a month since the problem with the payload computer happened.
NASA has tried several attempts to restart the computer, but all of them failed even with switching to the backup of the 1980s-era computer resulted in the same memory error. Engineers looked at the power regulator as a possible culprit as well as the Command Unit/Science Data Formatter (CU/SDF), which is responsible for sending format commands and data.
Engineers have spent much of July reviewing and testing the procedures on a high-fidelity simulator of the hardware. The news outlet reported that NASA has completed its formal review last week and is set to conduct another review aimed at minimizing the risks that come with the procedures.
The formal review of the procedures will switch to the backup hardware, and NASA announced that the procedure would most likely happen later this week. It is an extremely risky procedure to take since investigating what caused the glitch is not yet complete.
Possible Cause of Hubble Space Telescope's Glitch
The bubble Space Telescope has been out for over a month since June 13, when a glitch of its payload computer that controls and monitors its science instruments happened.
After a series of analyses, tests, and reviews over the past month, NASA engineers claim that they might have identified the possible cause of the glitch. The bubble team thinks it may have something to do with the Power Control Unit (PCU), Space.com reported.
The PCU is located in Hubble's Science Instrument Command and Data Handling (SI C&DH) unit. Its main job is to ensure that the payload computer and its hardware have a steady stream of electricity flowing in by using a power regulator and "secondary protection circuit" that commands the payload to shut down if the voltage s too high or too low.
The team has already tried to reset the PCU, but it was unsuccessful. They plan to switch to the backup side of the SI C&DH unit next. If it works then, the Hubble will be expected to return to its normal science operations after a few days.
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