Hubble Telescope

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Bringing Hubble Back to Life: How an Engineer Repaired an Aging Telescope with the Help of a 30-Year-Old Student

Hubble Telescope was brought back to work. Know more…

Friday, 23rd July 2021

In recent weeks, although the world has been interested in the space history of Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson, other things are happening at the edge of the earth, in the realm of mystery and adventure, where human knowledge began. . Gradually disappear, the unknown infinite expanse begins.


At  547 kilometers above the earth's surface, at a speed of 28,000 kilometers per hour, a space telescope weighing 11 tons was born. On July 16, Hubble again refuted his prediction of imminent destruction, and stargazers, astronomers, and space scientists all over the world applauded.


The Hubble Space Telescope stopped working when it's payload computer that controlled all equipment stopped working on June 13. When the main computer does not receive any signal from the payload computer, it automatically puts all scientific instruments in a safe mode, that is, the space telescope enters a coma, while scientists and mission experts are far below, on the earth, trying to figure out what is the problem.


But there is a problem in the problem. Technicians try to solve the problem. The telescope computer comes from another era, many generations past. Hubble engineers had to search the archives for documents dating back 40 years. Technicians and scientists of those times were contacted and their knowledge and experience were used.


Also Read: DRDO develops high-strength titanium alloys for the aerospace industry.


In 1923, the German scientist Hermann Oberth first mentioned that the telescope could be put into orbit around the Earth. In 1946, American astrophysicist Lyman Spitzer elaborated on the benefits of telescopes in space above Earth's atmosphere. In the 1960s, at the height of the space race with the Soviet Union, the United States decided to build such a space telescope and launched the Large Space Telescope (LST) project. However, after Apollo 11 landed Neil Armstrong on the moon in July 1969, funds began to run out and they decisively defeated the Soviet Union in that prestigious race. US lawmakers believed that space research and technology no longer needed a large amount of funding they were requesting, and the LST project began to scale back.


But there is another space project, a spinoff of LST, that continues to stimulate people's imaginations. As part of the LST project planning, NASA came up with the idea for a space shuttle, a reusable spacecraft that first places a large telescope in space and then provides services for the large telescope. As part of the downsizing of the LST project, the project designers were asked to design a telescope that could be installed in the cargo compartment of an aviation aircraft. But even if work progresses, funding is still a problem. The United States Congress is not interested in paying bills of more than a billion dollars, but the hope is here.


In 1975, when the European Space Agency (ESA) joined the project and provided 15% of the funding, the United States Congress made concessions and two years later, in 1977, approved the LST budget. At that time, the telescope had a name; It was named the Hubble Space Telescope in honor of the American astronomer Edwin Hubble, who, among other things, has shown that the universe extends beyond the Milky Way and is expanding. By the end of 1985, everything was ready for the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope, and the date was set sometime in the following year ... that's when the disaster struck.


On January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded one minute after launch, killing all 7 crew members on board. The accident grounded the space shuttle for two years and delayed the launch of Hubble for another four years. Finally, on April 24, 1990, the Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off with a telescope valued at the US $ 1.5 billion, and the next day it was deployed in orbit above Earth. This is the most expensive artificial satellite ring.


For the next 31 years, Hubble has been extending humanity's view to the farthest corners and depths of the universe, sending out high-resolution images and constantly pushing the limits of science. The Hubble Space Telescope was designed to serve astronauts using space shuttle missions. Until 2009, five service missions and equipment were added to the weightless space of more than 500 kilometers above the earth. In 2011, when the space shuttle was retired, that meant that no one would go up to fix Hubble. If something goes wrong, anything that needs to be fixed must be done away from the ground.


According to NASA, the telescope has made more than 1.5 million observations and astronomers have used this data to publish more than 18,000 peer-reviewed scientific publications on a wide range of topics. Hubble’s lifespan was originally expected to be 15 years, but its lifespan has been tripled. When the payload computer stopped working on June 13, many people thought it might be time to say goodbye. But the Hubble team, which is still servicing the telescope remotely, did not give up but continued to search for old records, designs, and personnel to find solutions. Days and weeks passed, and Hubble continued to orbit the earth silently, closing his eyes, and no longer sending the stream of visual data that is continuously produced throughout its life. At 11:30 pm local time on July 15th, the Hubble Space Telescope at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, USA, reappeared, and hope was dashed.


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