Hubble update: Looking good so far

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Oct. 16 2008 10:48 AM

Hubble update: Looking good so far

Yesterday, engineers at NASA started the procedure to turn on Hubble's spare Science Instrument Control and Data Handling system, the part that went kerflooie a couple of weeks ago. So far, things look good:

During the night of Oct. 15, Space Telescope Operations Control Center engineers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center turned on and checked out Side ‘B’ of Hubble’s Science Instrument Control and Data Handling (SIC&DH) system.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death from the Skies!  

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Subsequently, the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) and Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) instruments were retrieved from safe mode to establish that each has a working interface to the Side B SIC&DH. The instruments were then commanded back into safe mode, and will remain in that state until the SI C&DH begins issuing commands to them later today.

Around noon today commands to recover Hubble’s science instruments from their safe modes will begin and internal exposures and calibrations of the telescope’s science instruments will occur before midnight Thursday.

In fact, they're so confident things are going well that they have exposures scheduled for Friday!

Scientists at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore should complete their review of the internal exposures by noon on Friday, October 17. [...] A full schedule of science observations with the WFPC2 camera, ACS’ Solar Blind Channel camera, and the Fine Guidance Sensors will resume early Friday morning.

W00t!

P.S. Note to NASA: thanks for getting this news up in a timely fashion. That's more like it!