Monday, September 29, 2008

Hubble Space Telescope

It looks as though the Hubble Telescopes life is just about done. Just prior to a scheduled repair and upgrade mission of October 14th, 2008, the Hubble Telescope took a turn for the worst. Not only are the main navigation systems responsible for maintaining an orbit malfunctioning, but more recently, the command and data-handling systems responsible for transmitting images back to earth have broken down. Interestingly enough, NASA has absolutely no idea what the cause is, although it is believed that the angry aliens finally put an end to the equipment used by the galactic peeping toms.

As a temporary solution NASA will be firing up the back up systems which have not been used since the late 1980s. Despite the set back, NASA is thrilled that the malfunction has occurred. Ed Weiler states:

“Think about if this failure had occurred two weeks after the servicing mission, we had just put two brand new instruments in and thought we extended the lifetime for five, 10 years and this thing failed after the last shuttle mission to Hubble. So in some sense, if this had to happen, it couldn't have happened at a better time.”

The much needed upgrades and repairs will have to be placed on hold while scientists back on Earth prepare the modules required to replace the old command and data relays. As a result, the mission will be scheduled to launch at the earliest date of the first quarter of 2009.

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