Hubble in trouble

Discussion in 'Environmental Discussion' started by bwilson4web, Jun 17, 2021.

  1. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Source: Hubble Just Shut Down and Is Fighting for Its Survival

    ... the Hubble Space Telescope has experienced serious computer issues, forcing all astronomical activities to shut down, according to a NASA announcement shared in a blog post. The orbital observatory has remained in idle mode since Sunday, when a computer from the 1980s that controls all science instruments automatically shut down, potentially due to a faulty memory board. ...

    It is too soon to say the mission has ended but it has been a remarkable mission.

    Bob Wilson
     
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  2. iplug

    iplug Senior Member

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    Do we know what was the anticipated mission length of Hubble? Seems like a really long run that outlasted its shelf life.
     
  3. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Great title bob. (y)
     
  4. mmmodem

    mmmodem Senior Taste Tester

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    Hubble was originally supposed to last 15 years according to this article. https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2018/update-on-the-hubble-space-telescope-safe-mode
    That means it's operating life has already been doubled.

    So long Hubble. Here's looking at you, Webb!
    https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/goddard/2021/nasa-statement-on-james-webb-space-telescope-launch-readiness

    P.S. I worked on making the mirrors for JWST and it's been heartbreaking seeing the launch date delay again and again over a decade now.
     
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  5. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Hubble LE orbital insertion 1990. Not always emphasized that was 'Keyhole' hardware of which others were put in look-down orientation, because, NRO. It was built with different image and spectral functions and more scieney.

    Somehow its primary mirror had surface defects that I've never understood how they got passed through ground qualification. But this was corrected by adding a front-end correction lens. That itself was a heckuva tech fix.

    Because few further LEO out lookers were sent, it got other add ons five times that allowed impressive science. If it cannot be restarted, it will get de orbited after an impressive career.

    Webb telescope will go to L2, which is 'out there' and beyond reach of any repairs or modifications. They be sweatin' this one. Bigger and multi-mirror with gold doing first photon bounce, which allows digging into infrared.

    Hubble HST set a very high bar, but Webb JWST can blow past that. If all the pieces perform.

    ==

    Ah but nobody ever talked about sending multiple Hubble likes to LEO for inferometry. NRO gave NASA two or more (not a secret), but such a mission never reached big funding stage.
     
  6. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Working for NASA contractors for most of my career, I often gritted my teeth at some of the decisions. Sending a spacecraft into orbit with 'wings' ... what were they thinking.

    Bob Wilson
     
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  7. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Relations between NASA and Perkin-Elmer were seriously strained, and P-E didn't assign its best optical scientists to the final production project, so no one noticed that a fancy new optical test fixture was assembled incorrectly. Well, some noticed when they rechecked with old fixtures, but the discrepancy was dismissed.

    The backup mirrors built by Kodak and Itek were good. Kodak's mirror is now on display at the National Air and Space Museum, Itek's mirror was put into a ground instrument.

    Hubble Space Telescope - Wikipedia
     
  8. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    No rebooting success reported yet. To fill the gap I looked at some Spitzer telescope stuff. It had a similar sized mirror but worked better in infrared.

    But an item of interest concerns exoplanets, scarcely done by these two scopes:

    https://www.nasa.gov/jpl/spitzer/pia19333/map-of-exoplanets-found-in-our-galaxy

    Most exos have been found by Kepler which has a small viewing cone. I did not know this stuff and hope it also interests others.
     
  9. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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  10. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

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    Seems to me that they could fly an ROV up there and hit the reset button.
    OTOH
    It's not very far out there, and one supposes that Elon, ever the self promoter, could get there in a crew dragon.
    BUT...Hubble is 31years old.
    I'm kinda interested to see if they'll let the orbit decay naturally, boost it and keep it in place, or dynamically de-orbit it.
    It's 50-year-old tech but it's still useful.

    Failing a repair flight, they'll just have to wait until Jim Webb gets up there.
    Actually......Webb is slated to fly in November anyway, which will certainly be sooner than another repair mission.
    Maybe.
    Webb was SUPPOSED to fly back before the iPhone was released (2007) but.....NASA.

    Interesting "orbit" (halo).
    They're putting Webb waaaaaay out there.
    Hope they don't have to go and fix it.

    Fun Fact:
    IIRC, the Jim Webb instrument has a has a slightly lower power budget than Hubble.

    What...GIS and remote sensing not 'sciency' enough for ya? ;)

    Yeah. Hubble was a hand-me-down from a sister agency after the folks in Maryland upgraded.
    Optics.....are so....1980's, but still pretty useful sometimes.
     
  11. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    That would that would cost well into the 9-figure range. So they build them to be able to hit reset buttons by radio. Cases such as this almost certainly need replacement parts.
    "Getting there" would be the easy part.

    I believe the last repair visit from the Shuttle, placed an attachment bracket for an ROV to clamp on for dynamic de-orbit.
    November of what year? :ROFLMAO: :cry:

    We think of the open publicly 'sciency' stuff, not the very carefully guarded stuff the public is not allowed to know about.
     
    #11 fuzzy1, Jun 29, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2021
  12. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    How long will the Hubble Space Telescope last? | Astronomy.com


    says "The final servicing mission also included the installation of a Soft Capture and Rendezvous System, or SCRS — a ring-shaped docking port to enable future spacecraft (likely robotic) to connect to the telescope and safely deorbit it."

    ==
    Herschel Space Observatory went to second Lagrange point (as will web) and looked at longer wavelength infrared. It only lasted for about 4 years. Maybe due to depletion of cryogenics? But it never got clicks like Hubble, poor thing.
     
  13. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    IMHO, a robotic space tug could bring the Hubble close to the ISS. At the same time, repair stocks could be sent. Then the staff could refurbish Hubble including reaction wheels and consumables. Replace the solar arrays with newer, more efficient ones, and then have the tug return Hubble to an observation orbit.

    Bob Wilson
     
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  14. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Because they are not in similar orbital planes, the energy or delta-v cost of this maneuver is substantial, so requires a very considerable amount of fuel. Does anyone have a ready analysis already posted online somewhere?
     
  15. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

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    I looked and tried to get some numbers to put on the back of an envelope - but then I saw a squirrel and.......

    If I were King For A Day, I'd find some egomaniacal Edison-Barnum hybrid with a few billion in change under his sofa cushions and simply post something in the tweets about his spacecraft not being able to do it.
    If I were sure that all of the tech in Hubble were now COTS equivelent, one could simply just sign over the title.....BUT one also needs to remember what this tech was originally used for. ;)

    Tucker might get worried if some egomaniacal Edison-Barnum hybrid with a few billion in change under his sofa cushions got hold of a new toy and pointed it the wrong way.... :eek:
     
  16. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    The orbital change is much less than gravity well energy cost. Best of all solar sail or xenon thruster could easily handle it.

    Bob Wilson
     
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  17. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    If there were a very good reason to renovate Hubble, I suppose X-37B could drag it down to ISS. :eek:

    Last step, attach an up-goer to put it back in higher orbit (if desired) and a down-goer for the final trip to Point Nemo. This presumes that X-37B dudes are willing to disclose its capabilities along these lines. (Hubble too large for X-37B 'trunk' in case you were thinking about a bring back mission)

    Or, make and send a different 'mover' up there (the Bob Plan). Stepping back, one needs to wonder if current large ground telescopes with adaptive optics, or the larger 3 under construction all lack some feature that Hubble v3 would offer.

    I know it has been a great worker, but perhaps it's done. Y'all don't want to move attention and support away from James Webb, right?
     
  18. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

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    There’s time yet.
    Jim is 14 years behind schedule and waaaaaay over budget.

    X34 is probably doin other stuff.
    I think Hubble would be well worth fixing.
    I’m sure we could find peeps to peep with it even after (if…) Webb comes on line.

    We spent a pile of money getting Hubble off the pad.
    Why not invest a little more?
     
  19. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Getting Hubble to ISS is not that much of a gravity well energy project (drop it 150 km), but it is a quite large angular momentum project (23.1 degree change of orbital plane inclination).

    A little vector arithmetic finds that the required delta-v of this angle change amounts to 0.4004 of the total orbital speed (simplified to circular orbits). This is just barely less than the delta-v of 0.4142 of orbital speed needed to kick an existing orbiting body completely out of the gravity well, sans angle change.

    How long has it taken for solar sails or ion thrusters to boost 11 tonne LEO objects out of Earth's gravity well and into solar orbits? It will take them at least 96% of the same amount of time to do this Hubble project. [Edit: scrap that comparison to gravity well escape with slow, low-thrust boosters. For escape, that particular delta-v fraction applies only to quick kicks from high thrusts, taking advantage of certain orbital mechanics quirks. Slow spiraling boosts must use higher delta-v's to escape, though that doesn't affect their use for a Hubble --> ISS plane change.]
     
    #19 fuzzy1, Jul 2, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2021
  20. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    For a space tug, I'm impressed by the specific impulse of ion engines "1,950-3,100" to "21,400" (see Wiki Specific impulse - Wikipedia.) If Hubble is repairable, bring it to ISS and let the well trained, skilled humans do the work. After all, what is time to an 11 ton, repairable satellite?

    It also gives time to rework the ground systems too.

    Bob Wilson
     
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