Reprinted from Principia Scientifica
Written by theregister.com
NASA has completed a formal review of what engineers will have to do to switch the Hubble Space Telescope to its backup hardware. This comes more than a month after a problem with a payload computer aboard the veteran observatory sent the telescope into safe mode and engineers scurrying for contingency plans.
Engineers cast their net wider as time wore on, considering potential issues with a power regulator as a possible culprit as well as the Command Unit/Science Data Formatter (CU/SDF), which sends and formats commands and data.
The hardware is highly redundant, but switching to backups at this level carries its own risks: “To switch to the backup CU/SDF or power regulator, several other hardware boxes on the spacecraft must also be switched due to the way they are connected to the SI C&DH [Science Instrument Command and Data Handling] unit,” NASA posted at the end of June.
It’s not entirely new ground for the team. A similar switch was done in 2008 after a CU/SDF module failed. However, back then a Space Shuttle servicing mission was on the cards for 2009. Today’s engineers have no such luxury.
NASA has therefore spent much of July testing and reviewing procedures on a high-fidelity simulator of the hardware.
Tests were completed last week, and a review aimed at minimising the risks associated with the procedures went ahead earlier this week.
A formal review into all the operations related to the switch to backup hardware has now been completed and there is every chance that engineers will have a go at the procedure later this week – perhaps a bit risky since the investigation into what actually befell the payload computer is not complete.
The Register asked NASA for a look at the reviewed procedures and will update should the agency respond.
See more here: theregister.com
Header image: Hindustan Times
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