For the past month or so, the Hubble Space Telescope has been offline due to a glitch in its aging systems. Even the backup computer has failed, leading to fears that the iconic telescope may be gone for good. However, NASA may have finally figured out the problem.
The issue became prominent on June 13 and all the activities of engineers had to be suspended due to this reason. They have been working on identifying the cause of the problem since then, but all of their efforts were of no avail. Quite luckily, the scientists have finally found the cause behind this glitch, and they will be working on it soon.
The main issue identified was with the Power Control Unit (PCU). This control unit is responsible for providing a stable supply of electricity to multiple hardware pieces in the laboratory. Unexpectedly, the levels of voltage dropped significantly low to below 5 volts approximately. This extreme drop in the voltage forced the automated system to shut down all its ongoing operations of powering the hardware and shifting to a non-primary circuit. This circuit acted as a backup when voltages would drop low.
The cause is either the general drop in voltage from an outside source or was a result of the wearing and tearing of the main circuit that forced the operations to be run by the secondary system. The team at NASA, for the time being, and till the main source is rejuvenated, is using the backup system they had. This backup also powers the Power Control Unit temporarily. Another issue like this was highlighted in 2009 when the scientists had to locate the problem physically and find a solution using a Space Shuttle. There are no such shuttles available to pinpoint the issue at the moment, so scientists are relying on their troubleshooting methods and techniques.