Tech & Science NASA pensioners rescue the Hubble Space Telescope

19:25  17 september  2021
19:25  17 september  2021 Source:   dw.com

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as a computer suddenly performed at more than 30 years old Hubble telescope, NASA former employees asked for help.

Sicherheitshalber holte sich Nzinga Tull, die Leiterin des Hubble-Notfall-Teams, Hilfe von ehemaligen Mitarbeitern © Rebecca Roth / GSFC / NASA / ABACA / Picture Alliance For safety's sake, Nzinga Tull, the Hubble Emergency Team Head, brought Hollywood's Hubble Emergency Team Help, otherwise only Hollywood thinking out: For 31 years, the Hubble Telescope in about 550 kilometers altitude around the earth and provides us fascinating photos of far away stars and galaxies . Originally, the mission should take only 15 years, but our telescope in far galaxies continues to fly and has so far sent about 1.5 million recordings to the earth.

until 13 June 2021, as suddenly the Hubble payload computers calculated, which controls and coordinates the scientific instruments aboard the observatory. When the main computer no longer received a signal from the payload computer, he automatically put all scientific instruments from Hubble into a quiet mode. All the attempts of the soil crew to restore the unusual computer over the main computer failed. There is a backup calculator, but how does it work?

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no reason to panic, finally in the hubble in the case of cases all important components were double-installed - even for the unusual computer there is a backup calculator - only that had never been used since the start of 1990. And with such a computer you can not simply press the ON switch.

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Banal examples, but old technology and old knowledge go slightly lost in the fast-lived time and each error in the NASA rescue operation could have meant the irretrievable end of the Hubble mission.

Hubble pensioners supported the new Team

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for safety's sake, Nzinga Tull, the head of the Hubble Emergency Team, some former employees together. In order to repair a telescope built in the 1980s, it just needed the knowledge of employees from the entire Hubble story, NASA is pleasingly open in a message after successful mission.

Schritt für Schritt wurde das Hochfahren des Rechners in einem Simulator durchgerechnet. © Goddard / Rebecca Roth / NASA / ABACA / Picture Alliance Step by step, the pickup of the computer was calculated in a simulator. more than 50 people were involved in the two-week rescue operation. Together, new and old team members initially worked through the list of potential weaknesses and tried to narrow the problem. Analoges know in heads and on paper

former employees who were already involved in the construction of the telescope, known as the old command and data processing unit in the payload computer. Other NASA pensioners found the crucial information for the right procedure in 30 to 40 years old original documents from Hubble.

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"This is one of the advantages of a program that has been running for over 30 years: the incredible amount of experience and expertise," says Nzinga Tull, the head of the Hubble Emergency Team. "It was humiliating and inspiring, both with the current team and with those who are changed to other projects. They show so much dedication for their Hubble colleagues, the observatory and science, for which Hubble is famous."

Melting Galaxies As a reward

Step by step, the pickup of the computer was calculated in a realistic simulator in the control center. With united forces, the backup calculator could actually be successfully started on July 15th, after five weeks forced break.

Hubble zeigt uns zwei gerade verschmelzende Galaxien im Steinbock mit drei Spiralarmen © Provided by Deutsche Wave Hubble shows us two straight-fumbling galaxies in Capricorn with three spiral arms two days later, the instruments returned fascinating photos from distant galaxies. Being first photographed Hubble two straight-fumed galaxies in Capricorn with three spiral arms. The space telescope is fully operational again - thanks to the help of the NASA pensioners.

Author: Alexander Friend

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