Skip to comments.Hubble re-opens an eye [main camera is back on; two others may soon restart observations]
Posted on 10/28/2008 9:05:07 AM PDT by Mike Fieschko
The Hubble Space Telescope has reawakened and is taking its first pictures of the sky after a series of glitches left it idle for a full month.
Engineers successfully booted up the probe's main camera, the Wide-Field Planetary Camera 2, on Saturday. The instrument, which is set to be swapped out in 2009 during the telescope's last servicing mission, is now taking its last scheduled images of the sky.
Now that the Wide-Field Planetary Camera 2 is operating again, mission managers are planning to switch on the telescope's two other cameras.
Infrared cameraEngineers will next attempt to restart the telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys, which shut down last week due to a timing problem between two software routines. The camera's ultraviolet sensor, the Solar Blind Channel, is the only one that still works on the ACS - power problems knocked out the camera's two other channels in 2007.
Testing is currently being conducted on Hubble's infrared camera, called NICMOS (Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer), to see if it can interface with the "B-side" of the instrument control unit, Doxsey told New Scientist.
NICMOS, which is used to observe faint, distant galaxies, has been incapacitated since September, when problems turned up in the spectrometer's cooling unit. If testing goes well, engineers will turn on the cooling unit and start the camera in the next few weeks.
A new launch date for the [Shuttle] servicing mission has not been set, but NASA has been eyeing an opening in February. Some officials say that target could be optimistic, as the replacement part may have undiagnosed problems.
(Excerpt) Read more at space.newscientist.com ...
ping for u
Whoever designed the Hubble should get the Nobel prize in engineering or science. An awesome piece of equipment.