NASA has successfully completed the switch to the Hubble Space Telescope backup payload computer, as updated on Friday (16). The change became necessary after discovering the reason for the failure that left the equipment inoperative for over a month.
The procedure included the activation of the backup Power Control Unit (PCU), responsible for the constant supply of power to computer components. The switch was also made to the Backup Command Unit/Scientific Data Formatter, which sends and formats data.
During the work, the US space agency also switched to alternative interfaces on other pieces of Hubble hardware, correcting flaws that prevented it from working properly. All these replacements were done remotely, through commands sent by the ground mission control team.
Once these steps are complete, the spacecraft’s backup payload computer has been powered up and has already received the update with the flight software files. According to NASA, the equipment is no longer in safe mode, activated on June 13, when the problem was detected for the first time.
Resuming scientific operations
Put into normal operating mode after the hardware replacement is complete, Hubble is not yet fully ready to go back to work. The control team will monitor the operation of the backup computer to ensure there are no further problems.
The process of recovering the space telescope’s scientific instruments, which were preserved in safe mode, was also restarted. They will still go through some initial calibrations before resuming regular scientific operations.
It is also necessary to perform other technical procedures to ensure the stability of the instruments’ temperature, an activity that should take more than a day, according to NASA.