Hobbled Hubble Space Telescope revived

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. Thu Oct 16, 2008 11:07pm IST

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - The Hubble Space Telescope was in the final stages of recovery on Thursday after NASA successfully bypassed a faulty computer and resurrected an 18-year-old spare from orbital hibernation.

The faulty computer, which is needed to collect and process data from science instruments, prompted NASA to delay a long-awaited space shuttle mission to service the telescope.

The flight has been rescheduled for February, when the crew will attempt to replace the failed computer.

The space telescope, which orbits about 300 miles (485 km) above Earth, has changed scientists' understanding of the origin, evolution and contents of the universe and delivered unprecedented images of distant galaxies and celestial phenomena.

Engineers began the delicate task of switching to a backup system to collect and process Hubble's data on Wednesday.

"Everything's going perfectly," said NASA spokeswoman Susan Hendrix, with the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The telescope was back in automated mode, rekindling connections between its instruments and the computer. Science observations were expected to resume Friday morning, Hendrix said.

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