Hubble telescope once again enters safe mode, science operations shut

Hubble telescope once again enters safe mode, science operations shut
The Hubble telescope.NASA
  • The Hubble telescope has once again entered safe mode.
  • As a result, science operations have been suspended in the observatory.
  • It entered safe mode on October 25 after facing multiple losses of synchronization messages.
Science operations have been once again shut on the iconic Hubble telescope as the ageing observatory has entered safe mode. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is currently investigating the reason behind this.

As per an announcement from NASA, science instruments in Hubble had issued error codes indicating the loss of a specific synchronization message on October 23. After which, the mission team reset the instruments, resuming science operations the next day.

On October 25, the instruments again issued error codes indicating multiple losses of synchronization messages. After this, the instruments autonomously entered safe mode. Safe mode is designed to keep the observatory stable and allows it to remain powered via the solar panels as the mission team works on resolving the problem.

As per NASA, synchronization messages provide “information the instruments use to correctly respond to data requests and commands.”

“Mission team members are evaluating spacecraft data and system diagrams to better understand the synchronization issue and how to address it. They also are developing and testing procedures to collect additional data from the spacecraft. These activities are expected to take at least one week,” the statement from NASA added.

In June, Hubble, which is over three decades old, had entered safe mode for over a month due to a faulty payload computer that coordinates science operations.

Hubble was launched by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) in 1990 and has made over 1.3 million observations over the years. Its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to launch next month and will have 6.25 times more collecting area to catch signals compared to the Hubble.


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