NASA successfully switches Hubble telescope to backup hardware

NASA said on Friday that it has successfully ported the Hubble Space Telescope to its spare hardware. The telescope’s scientific instruments will now be taken out of safe mode, after which the telescope’s scientific research can begin again.

NASA writes in an update on its website that the backup payload computer has been successfully powered on. This operation was performed to resolve an issue with the primary payload computer that occurred last month. As a result, the 31-year-old Hubble telescope was unable to collect scientific data for a month. The space agency already announced on Wednesday that the Hubble telescope might switch to its backup hardware this week.

During the operation, NASA brought the backup power controller and the reserve Command Unit/Science Data Formatter online, among other things. The power controller supplies power to the Science Instrument and Command & Data Handling Unit, and the CU/SDF transmits and formats commands and data. Also, all other parts of the Hubble hardware were switched to their ‘alternate interfaces’ to connect to the spare side of the Science Instrument and Command & Data Handling Unit. After this, the backup payload computer was turned on, the flight software was loaded and the payload computer was put into normal mode.

NASA’s Hubble team is now overseeing the backup hardware to make sure everything is working properly. The team has also started recovering the science instruments from safe mode, according to NASA. This is expected to take more than a day, the space agency said. The team must perform several procedures and ensure that the instruments run at stable temperatures. After that, the team has to perform an initial calibration of the instruments, after which the scientific work can be resumed.