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Electrical Power System

 Hubble’s two wing-like solar

arrays collect energy from the
Sun and convert it to

This set of arrays uses gallium

arsenide (GaAs) solar cells,
which are more efficient than
the silicon solar cells used by the
previous arrays. The third- The current solar arrays
generation arrays also have rigid measures 23.3 x 8.6 feet.
lithium-aluminum alloy frames
 Power created by the solar arrays is
managed by the power control unit
The PCU distributes power to the
spacecraft through four power
distribution units (PDUs) which
provide the means to turn equipment
on or off, and also contain fuses that
protect Hubble’s systems
 When power from the solar arrays
is not immediately used by the
spacecraft, it is stored in batteries
for when Hubble is in Earth’s

 On average, Hubble uses 2,100

watts of power, which is roughly
the same as five refrigerators.
However, the amount of power
needed by the spacecraft varies
from orbit to orbit, so the battery
charge levels must be able to
change as well.
Science Instruments Communications antennas
 Hubble performs in response to
 Hubble is operated by detailed instructions from
commands from the ground. people on the ground. The
Several spacecraft systems are in antennas allow technicians to
place to keep Hubble communicate with the telescope,
functioning smoothly. telling it what to do and when to
do it. Four antennas receive and
Thermal Protection send information to a set of
satellites, which in turn
communicate with Earth.
 Hubble has blanket of
multilayered insulation, which
protects the telescope from
temperature extremes.
Computers and automation

 Several computers and microprocessors reside in Hubble’s

body and in each science instrument. There are two main
computers. One talks to the instruments, sends commands
and other information, and transmits data; the other handles
pointing control, gyroscopes and other system-wide
Pointing Control System

 Hubble uses a combination of

gyroscopes, reaction wheels and
Fine Guidance Sensors to orient

It uses two sets of hardware:

sensors and actuators. Sensors
gather information about the
spacecraft’s attitude from the Sun,
the stars and Earth’s magnetic
field. Actuators physically rotate
the telescope to point in a
particular direction.
 Five types of sensors make up the Pointing Control

1. the Coarse Sun Sensors:

determine the orientation of Hubble in relation to the Sun.
The sensors use silicon diode detectors to determine
whether the Sun is present in their field of view and, if so,
the angle of the Sun relative to the sensor.

2. the Magnetic Sensing System:

acts as Hubble’s compass, measuring the telescope’s
orientation in relation to Earth’s magnetic field. The
system consists of magnetometers and dedicated
electronics, which, like a compass, assess the orientation of
the telescope.
3. the gyroscopes:
measure the direction the telescope is turning and the rate
of that rotation.

4. the Fixed Head Star Trackers:

determine Hubble’s attitude by measuring the locations
and brightnesses of stars in their field of view.

5. the Fine Guidance Sensors:

use starlight captured by the telescope’s mirrors to find and
maintain a lock on guide stars to ensure that the
spacecraft’s attitude does not change.

 Two actuator systems physically rotate Hubble: the

Reaction Wheel Assemblies and the magnetic torquers.
Neither of these systems uses propellants, since the
byproducts could contaminate the telescope’s field of

If one of the reaction wheels turns clockwise, Hubble will

turn counterclockwise. Changing the spin speed of any of
the wheels produces a rotational force called torque,
at its fastest, Hubble only moves as quickly as the minute
hand of a clock (approximately 90 degrees in 15 minutes)
 Magnetic torquers are eight-foot iron rods wrapped
in wire that produce a magnetic field when
commanded by Hubble’s computer. The magnetic
field produced by the magnetic torquers pushes or
pulls Hubble toward Earth’s magnetic field, rotating
the telescope.
Are used to help reduce reaction wheel speeds