Hubble in Trouble (ha, I'm a poet!)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Zeta Otaku, Sep 29, 2008.

  1. Zeta Otaku

    Zeta Otaku Who ya gonna call? TFW2005 Supporter

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    From CNN.com

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AP) -- NASA said Monday that it is delaying its mission to the Hubble Space Telescope until next year because of a serious breakdown of the observatory in orbit.
    Space shuttle Atlantis had been scheduled to blast off in just two weeks, but an unexpected problem with the Hubble appeared Saturday night, when the telescope stopped sending science data.

    That potentially means a new repair issue for the astronauts to confront, one they haven't trained for and never anticipated.

    The failure of the command and data-handling system for Hubble's science instruments means the telescope is unable to capture and beam down the data needed to produce its stunning deep space images.

    Early Monday afternoon, NASA announced that the October 14 launch had been postponed until at least early next year, possibly February.

    When Atlantis does fly, NASA may send up a replacement part for the failed component.

    It would take time to test and qualify the old replacement part and train the astronauts to install it in the telescope, NASA spokesman Michael Curie said. NASA also would have to work out new mission details for the astronauts who have trained for two years to carry out five Hubble repair spacewalks.

    "The teams are always looking at contingencies, and this is just something that has cropped up we have the ability to deal with. They're just trying to decide what direction we want to go," Curie said.

    There is a backup channel for the science instruments' command and data-handling system, and NASA may be able to activate it successfully so that data transmission resumes, Curie said. But if NASA relies solely on the backup channel, there would be no other options if it malfunctioned.

    Work has begun to switch the telescope to the backup channel. It is a complicated process; the backup channels on the various modules that must be switched over have not been turned on since the late 1980s or early 1990, right before Hubble was launched. The Hubble team hopes to complete the job by the end of the week.

    Curie stressed that the telescope is not in trouble; it just cannot send science information to ground controllers. That means NASA is unable to receive the dramatic pictures Hubble is known for.

    The mission by Atlantis and a seven-person crew will be the fifth and final servicing mission to Hubble.

    Now, Endeavour will be the next shuttle up, on a trip to the international space station in November. Endeavour is at the launch pad; it was supposed to serve as a rescue ship for Atlantis in case of trouble.
     
  2. eyeballkid

    eyeballkid Old

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    Is it completely stupid to think that maybe they should attach the telescope to the international space station, so when something does go wrong, there are people there to fix it? I guess they are in different orbits, or maybe the Hubble is too big?
     
  3. BigPrime3000

    BigPrime3000 Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure how high up the ISS is, but I know that the Hubble is already at the upper limit of the shuttle's reach, I think 300 miles or something, so it can be far enough away from Earth to not have interference. I'm fairly sure the ISS is in a much lower orbit than that.

    I'm sad that this is going to be the last repair mission to Hubble though. It's gonna suck when they eventually bring it out of orbit.
     
  4. MetalRyde

    MetalRyde is an a-hole with a heart.

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    last repair job? wah! i didn't think it would end in my life time. :( 

    hope it finds Cybertron before it kaputs :p 
     
  5. Aaron

    Aaron Master of Crystalocution Moderator Content Contributor

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    Massively different orbits. ISS is very low orbit, whereas Hubble is at the far outside of the Shuttle's orbit.
     
  6. Unclejoe420

    Unclejoe420 Well-Known Member

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    Well, am not surprised the Hubble needs a bit of a tune-up - after all, Mike Nelson managed to wreck it by crashing the Satellite of Love into it (an obscure MST3K the Movie reference there)...

    UJ
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2008
  7. Lock Cade

    Lock Cade Tarn Fangirl TFW2005 Supporter

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    Yeah, I've been dying to find out if Cybertron and the Transformer race does exist! :D 
     

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