It turns out it’s tricky to troubleshoot a 1980s computer that zoomed around the Earth hundreds of miles above our heads.
NASA spent over a week assessing a computer problem that posed the venerable Hubble Space Telescope hors de combat June 13 and that could force the spacecraft to switch to a standby computer. Currently, current tests indicate that the problem the team has identified so far may not be the cause of the computer problems, according to the agency’s update.
“After running tests on multiple modules of the computer’s memory, the results indicate that the problem may have been caused by other hardware in the computer, and memory errors were just a symptom,” NASA officials wrote. statement published on Tuesday (June 22nd).
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Although the original anomaly suggested that the memory module was degrading, the team now suspects that the root of the problem may be in the computer’s central processing module or in the connection of this unit to the interface hardware.
Right now, added in the statement, the team is developing tests to more confidently identify the problem; these tests “will be carried out in the next few days.”
In a statement, NASA said the team has yet to give up hope of reviving the main payload computer, but lays out a plan in case the feat cannot be met. The telescope is equipped with a backup computer, which, like the main unit, was installed in 2009 during the last operation. astronaut service mission but has not been used since.
“The standby computer has not been turned on since it was installed in 2009; however, it has been extensively tested on the ground before being installed on a spacecraft, ”NASA officials said in a statement.
If a team is forced to turn to a backup device, Hubble will switch to the central processor and interface equipment of this device. NASA noted that switching computers will not affect access to four memory modules on the spacecraft.
Astronauts deployed the Hubble Space Telescope from Space Shuttle Discovery on April 25, 1990; five crews of astronauts later visited the spacecraft in orbit to repair and modernization technologies and tools on board. However, NASA can no longer send such missions to repair the telescope, as they relied on the agency’s space shuttle fleet, which retired in 2011.
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