NASA has spent more than a week evaluating a computer issue that put the Hubble Space Telescope out of commission on June 13. Since its launch in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope, a joint project between NASA and the European Space Agency, has provided dozens of terabytes of data collected from the universe. The telescope was named Hubble in honor of Edwin Hubble, an American astronomer who, among other things, determined that the universe extended beyond the borders of the Milky Way. Hubble experienced equipment issues. On Dec. 2, 1993, the Space Shuttle Endeavor ferried a crew of seven to fix Hubble during five days of spacewalks. During time, Hubble has been serviced five times. Hubble transmits about 120 gigabytes of science data every week. In addition to gazing at the early universe, Hubble also helped astronomers gauge how much time had passed since the Big Bang. Images from the HST allows scientists on Earth to monitor changes in the planet’s atmosphere and surface.
In orbit for more than two decades, Hubble has provided scientists with a greater understanding of the planets, galaxy, and the whole universe. Now, to solve the problem the telescope has, the operations team is investigating whether the Standard Interface (STINT) hardware, which bridges communications between the computer’s Central Processing Module (CPM) and other components, or the CPM itself is responsible for the issue. If the problem with the payload computer can’t be fixed, the operations team will be prepared to switch to the STINT and CPM hardware onboard the backup payload computer. To destry the telescope will be the latest option. During the 2009 mission, NASA also installed a device that will steer Hubble back into the Earth’s atmosphere, where it will incinerate upon re-entry.