NASA To Try Risky Maneuver To Save Hubble Space Telescope

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NASA Engineers think they have finally figured out what caused the Hubble Space Telescope to stop working and go offline over a month ago.  The space agency is planning to undertake a risky plan to get the 3-decades old telescope that is in orbit around Earth working again.  Hubble has given astronomers the most accurate pictures of space and has been able to see further away from Earth than any ground based telescope so far, peering into distant galaxies.

On June 13, one of the telescope’s main computers stopped working and ever since then NASA engineers have been running diagnostics and analyzing data to figure out what went wrong and how to get it up and running again.  This past week they announced they had traced the problem to a faulty power regulator.  While not a guarantee they are correct, they do have good confidence they ave pinpointed the problem.

The plan is to switch the telescope to its backup hardware system said Paul Hertz, NASA Director of Astrophysics said “I do believe they’re going to succeed.”  The last time Hubble was upgraded was in 2009, after that, NASA stopped sending its own astronauts into space with the retirement of the fleet of space shuttles it once operated.  It’s not as simple and turning on a different computer and power supply, but instead a carefully choreographed set of steps to transition some components from one part of Hubble to another.  “We can’t get back up there to fix it, so we have to make sure the plan is safe, if the fix doesn’t work, we’ve turned Hubble into a 30-ton piece of space junk,” says Robert Greenberg, a satellite engineer for NASA.