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Hubble Hiccup Causes Shuttle Launch Scrub

 Weekend Malfunction on Hubble Space Telescope Causes Delay of Repair Mission

 

hubble space telescope

Deep space exploration being done by the Hubble Space telescope came a sudden end over the weekend when the command and data-handling system failed.  The cause of the failure is yet unknown, but as a result Hubble is unable to send down data and the upcoming servicing mission has been delayed until early next year.  The planned shuttle launch on October 14th was going to add a new array of scientific instruments and new batteries which would help it to continue peering deep into space for another 5-10 years.  

According to NASA's science chief, Ed Weiler, the situation could have been much worse.

"Think about if this failure had occurred two weeks after the servicing mission, we had just put two brand new instruments in and thought we extended the lifetime for five, 10 years and this thing failed after the last shuttle mission to Hubble," Weiler told reporters Monday evening.

"So in some sense, if this had to happen, it couldn't have happened at a better time."

While NASA engineers are beginning to power up the back-up systems, which hasn't been turned on since 1990, they are also trying to figure out what went wrong.  Likely the failed component will be replaced when astronauts travel up to make other improvements.  The complexity of space operations and the required hardware testing will mean this mission will launch February 2009 at the earliest.  

 

 For more information:

NASA Press Release

The Associated Press Article

Information on the Hubble Space Telescope (Wikipedia)

 

Executive Editor
Bradley Cheetham

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