NASA continues to work on an issue with the payload computer on the Hubble Space Telescope. The operations team will run the tests and gather more information about the system to isolate the problem further. Scientific instruments will remain in safe mode until the issue is resolved. The telescope itself and the scientific instruments remain in good health.
The computer was closed on Sunday, June 13th. An attempt to restart the computer on Monday, June 14th failed. The first indications were that the computer’s memory module had deteriorated due to the computer resource being out of order. When the operations team attempted to switch to a memory backup unit, the backup unit start command could not be completed. Both units made another attempt Thursday night to get more diagnostic information while trying to get these memory modules online again. However, those attempts were in vain.
The payload computer is the NASA Standard Spacecraft Computer 1 (NSSC-1) located in the Data Processing and Command module of the Science Instrument. The purpose of a computer is to control, coordinate, and monitor scientific instruments for health and safety purposes. It’s completely redundant because the second computer, along with its associated hardware, is in orbit that it can switch to in the event of a problem. Both computers can access and use each of four independent memory modules, each containing 64KB of metallic semiconductor supplemental (CMOS) memory. The payload computer uses only one memory unit at a time, while the other three serve as a backup memory unit.
Launched in 1990, Hubble has contributed greatly to our understanding of the universe over the past 30 years.
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