NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has delivered its first images since the telescope’s payload computer came to a sudden halt on June 13th.
The images show a galaxy with what the agency calls “elongated spiral arms” and said in a statement that it is the first high-resolution look at a pair of colliding galaxies.
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The photos were taken by a program led by Julianne Dalcanton of the University of Washington.
Other potential targets of the program included globular star clusters and auroras on Jupiter.
Scientific observations were restarted on July 17, after the telescope’s main computer did not receive any signals from the payload computer and subsequently put Hubble’s scientific instruments into safe mode.
NASA mission analysts, who worked from the control of the mission of the Greenbelt Space Flight Center, Maryland, as well as remotely, and engineers worked together to analyze the problem and determine the cause.
The HST has been in orbit approximately 340 miles above Earth for over 30 years. The telescope was built in the 1980s and NASA said Hubble alumni had once again helped in the recovery effort.
The team examined the procedures for more than 40 years in hopes of diagnosing the problem quickly.
While examining the potential of a degrading memory module, NASA switched to backup modules.
The team then activated Hubble’s backup payload computer for the first time in space. Both tasks failed to resolve the issue.
Then look at other hardware, such as the Command / Science Data Formatter Unit and the Power Control Unit, and switching to backups took 15 hours to command the spacecraft.
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The main computer was shut down and a “computer in safe backup mode” temporarily took over the spacecraft, several boxes had to be powered for the first time and the interfaces needed by the hardware were changed. ,
More than 50 people worked on the switch to backup hardware, testing procedures on a high-fidelity simulator and conducting a formal review of the proposed plan.
The team also analyzed previous test data and identified the power control unit as the potential source of their concerns.
By switching to the backup side of the scientific and command and data manipulation unit and the backup power control unit, NASA was successful on July 15 at 11:30 p.m. ET.
“I’m thrilled to see that Hubble has its gaze set on the universe, capturing once again the kind of images that have intrigued and inspired us for decades,” said NASA administrator Bill Nelson. “This is a time to celebrate the success of a team truly dedicated to the mission. Through its efforts, Hubble will continue its 32nd year of discoveries and we will continue to learn from the observatory’s transformative vision.”
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HST has made more than 1.5 million observations of the universe during its lifetime, contributing to some of the most significant discoveries in the cosmos.
Most observations lost while scientific operations were inactive will be rescheduled.