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Is The Space Telescope's Successive 'strikes'a Catastrophe?

Nov 30, 2018

Despite recent news, most of the focus is on malfunctioning gyroscopes, but space telescopes operate in complex space environments and face many other challenges.

If these risks are sorted, Ping Jinsong believes that the primary is the energy system, and if there is no energy security, it will not work. At present, the space telescope energy system is mainly composed of solar windsurfing batteries. If the solar panels cannot be opened normally, or if they are not working properly due to aging, the consequences of "power outage" are terrible.

Secondly, it is the failure of aging failure of key components including gyroscopes, which leads to problems such as attitude control, making it difficult to conduct scientific observations.

In Xu Wei's view, in general, during the design life, the probability of failure of the space telescope gyroscope is relatively low. The aging failure caused by long-term service is a normal phenomenon, and nothing can be fussed.

Furthermore, it is the impact of ultra-high-energy charged particles in the universe on the electronic equipment inside the telescope. Ping Jinsong introduced that in many cases, the spacecraft induced by ultra-high-energy charged particles is characterized by data or logic state transitions, uncontrolled switching of working modes, logical operation or abnormal operation.

"Some electronic equipment or system failures can be repaired by the ground staff to restart the system, and some will cause the spacecraft to completely fail to work properly." Ping Jinsong said.

In addition, impacts from larger dust in the universe may cause damage to the surface of the telescope. If you hit the lens barrel, the effect may be relatively small, and once the mirror is damaged, it will affect the observation.

As the main force in the space telescope, the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra Space Telescope are currently suspended from scientific observation. In the unlikely event that they retire, who can the astronomers with relevant observational needs count?

Xu Wei introduced that the James Webb Space Telescope jointly developed by NASA and the European Space Agency is currently under intense development. Although its launch time has been delayed. But it is known as "the most powerful space telescope in history" and is still highly anticipated by the astronomical community.