澳门金沙网上娱乐平台:Fuel fault delays space repair

时间:2019-03-07 08:10:04166网络整理admin

By Ian Sample THE discovery of a flattened fuel line on the space shuttle last week has meant delaying the mission to repair the comatose Hubble Space Telescope—for the sixth time. The repair mission, originally planned for October, will replace the six gyroscopes Hubble uses to orient itself. The telescope can operate with only three gyros, but when a fourth failed last month, engineers had to shut Hubble down. As New Scientist went to press, NASA engineers were hoping to fit a new fuel line in time for launch this Thursday (16 December). “It’s not as simple as it sounds—it’s like trying to get a sofa up a staircase,” says Lars Christensen of the European Space Agency. The timetable is already extremely tight. “It’s an optimistic schedule, but it’s do-able,” says Frank Cepollina, NASA’s project development manager for Hubble. Any further slippage in the schedule could delay the launch until January. NASA will not let the 10-day mission run over the New Year because of concerns about the shuttle’s vulnerability to the millennium bug, because of its ageing software. “The software’s been checked, but you don’t take any risks with something as complicated as the shuttle,” says Christensen. “There could still be some glitches.” But the millennium bug is not the only reason for avoiding a repair mission over the holiday period,