Hubble crashes again

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Hubble crashes again

NASA is reporting that computer problems on the Hubble orbital telescope have worsened, complicating the mission planned to repair it.

The telescope’s main computer crashed three weeks ago but NASA engineers managed to switch over to the backup system, an antiquated model relying on 486 processors. Now another computer for scientific analysis has failed and the power unit on one of the cameras has also failed.

"The soonest that we would be back doing full science would be late next week," Art Whipple, Hubble manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, told reporters during a conference call on Friday Reuters reports.

"It's not known if these two events are related," Whipple said. "At this point we are fairly certain it was not a configuration or a commanding error."

A space shuttle mission was scheduled for this week to repair the telescope, which has sent back images of the universe that have completely changed the prevailing understanding of how the universe works. The repair mission is now scheduled for February 2009.

"If we did not have the servicing mission, we would have less options to us available for recovery but we never take that for granted," Whipple said.
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