NASA Chamber Tortures Hubble, Makes Spanish Inquisition Good

After its latest problems, the space telescope Hubble is back online, getting back into the whole UFO catching business while waiting for the life-extending risky repair mission that will give it a new computer and updated components. Like the 486-based back-up computer, these components will have to work flawlessly for a long time, which is why NASA is putting them through the chamber of horrors you can see in the video.

NASA's chamber of horrors contains all the necessary equipment to make the components going up in Hubble suffer. The centrifuge machine, for example, makes them go through G-forces that can't be handled by any human, including Mr. T: 30 Gs.

After the centrifuge test, the components go through vibration testing on special tables that simulate the rigours of the launch on board the shuttle. It's the same case as with the sound vibration test, because even while there's no sound in space, there's sound—and lots of it-- during the lift-off.

There's even a test operated by dozens of engineers pushing hydraulic actuators—why they have to be engineers instead of machines we don't know—which test the resistance of the new composite payload carrier that will hold the Hubble components by pushing and pulling it.

Then you have the electronic interference test, which is pretty easy when you compare it to the Space Environment Chamber, a place that puts components from 150ºC above zero to minus -190ºC in a matter of minutes, to simulate going from the sunlit part of Earth to the dark one.

All this is great, my only questions is: Are the tested components copies of the actual ones going into space or the real thing? Because if it's the real thing, wouldn't all this excessive stress make it more prone to break later? Ah questions, questions. But at last it's Friday, so we can forget about looking for answers as we go down the usual path of numbness, cocktails, and partying. You know, the one that started last Monday.