The telescope “Hubble” is broken main camera

The telescope “Hubble” is broken main camera

Wide angle camera Wide Field Camera 3 on the space Observatory “Hubble” has stopped working. The reasons for this are unclear; the camera trying to “revive” from the Earth, and astronomers are continuing observations with other instruments.

Many electronic components in the device had spare parts, so it is possible that even the failure of a particular node will not lead to a complete loss of the camera. According to NASA, the camera stopped working the evening of 8 January. This is not the first technical problem with the telescope earlier, “Hubble” was failing gyroscopes, necessary for precise pointing at the object and maintain a stable orientation in space.

In 2009, during the final mission to repair and service the orbital Observatory “Hubble” has changed and the camera Wide Field Camera 3, and all six gyroscopes; in 2018 engineers had to use three backup gyro, as the three main out of service.

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Backup gyros have a longer life, so theoretically, with them telescope can work for a few years and, in addition, it will remain limited suitable for observation even when there are only two gyroscopes. Camera which is now stopped issuing image can be repaired either by exploiting previously unused backup component or excluded from the operation of the installed on-Board spectrometers and camera the Advanced Camera for Surveys allow to observe further.

If, however, before the Hubble was sent up with the Shuttle astronauts and equipment for repair along with modernization of the telescope, it’s impossible now. NASA plans to continue to use the telescope until at least 2021 and possibly further — high orbit will allow the Hubble to survive in space until 2028 or even 2030-ies. Perhaps the telescope will be able to fix it, bringing to it all the necessary powers for private companies, but these plans do not have specific content: in 2017 to fly to space Observatory for its repair offered Sierra Nevada Corporation, whose Dream Chaser machine has not yet made even an unmanned flight.

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Hypothetically, the ships able to get to the “Hubble”, is already there — in the coming months, for example, SpaceX promises to finally spend the first flight of the manned Dragon Crew (still without crew). Followed by CST-100 Cockpit, the brainchild of the “Boeing”: it is necessary to Elon musk to stay as competitors will fly to the ISS first, their flight is also assigned for the first few months of 2019.

Developed in the framework of NASA “Constellation” ship “Orion” too, could fly to the telescope — but neither he, nor any of the rest of the ships do not take on Board as much as climbed into the Shuttle. Once NASA actually planned to one day remove from orbit using the reusable Shuttle, the telescope is completely, safe letting him loose on the Ground for display in the Museum: but after the disaster of “Columbia” (burned when you return to the dense layers of the atmosphere) the entire Shuttle program decided to roll, and now it will not.