The Hubble Space Telescope may need to start a backup computer that has been dormant since 2009 in order to continue operations.
The scientific work of the orbiting oil rig was discontinued on June 13th after the computer that was responsible for controlling the instruments no longer responded to the main computer and its sensors were switched to safe mode as a precaution. Attempts to restart the system as usual were unsuccessful, leaving the telescope largely useless.
At first, NASA thought the problem was due to a memory module that failed due to an accumulation of radiation damage, blocking the instrumentation computer. Switching to a backup memory module did not resolve the problem. Now the agency says the memory errors may be a symptom of some other error rather than the root cause, and it may be time to upgrade to a computer with a backup instrument.
Specifically, the agency believes that the current instrument computer’s Central Processing Module (CPM) and standard interface (STINT), which connects the CPM to Hubble’s other systems, may be defective, so it hopes that the backup instrument computer’s CPM and STINT are fine. NASA can therefore boot up and test the backup computer before turning it into the active instrumentation computer and restoring Hubble’s scientific operations.
“The team ran tests to isolate the problem,” said a NASA spokesman The registry.
“This included tests on numerous memory modules. After reviewing the schematics and test results, there are indications that the problem is likely in the standard interface (STINT) or central processing module (CPM) associated with these elements, and not in the memory modules. The next tests will be carried out on STINT and CPM. “
The backup computer has not been turned on since it was installed in 2009
Hubble was launched in 1990, and when NASA got the chance to reach it, the space telescope was upgraded as needed. The computer systems unit worked well for 18 years, but it malfunctioned in 2008 and was replaced in 2009. Now perhaps it is time to see if the Backup Instrument Computer – formerly known as the Backup Payload Computer – works in this device.
In an update on their website, the agency noted:
NASA is confident that the telescope will return to normal. “There are many layoffs available to the team that have not yet been tried and it is very likely that one of them will work,” added the spokesman. ®