Hubble continues to stay in safe mode after the latest malfunction

Hubble continues to stay in safe mode after the latest malfunction

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Hubble Space Telescope was down for more than a week due to a problem with one of its instruments. The device will most likely be out of commission for another week as engineers explore the issue.

The Identified Problems in the Spacecraft

Hubble’s science instruments went into safe mode on Oct. 25 after fault codes indicated that “synchronization messages” had been lost. This problem provided the instruments with time information. The telescope’s scientific operations were halted due to the safe mode, although the instruments and the rest of the spacecraft are in good condition.

This wasn’t the first time Hubble had difficulty with synchronization messages. According to NASA, instruments issued error signals two days ago due to a loss of a specific synchronization transmission. The instruments were reset by the controllers, and science operations resumed the following day.

The agency announced the problem in an Oct. 25 tweet, and the statement on Nov. 1 was the first update on Hubble’s status since then. NASA stated in a statement that engineers are looking into spacecraft systems to figure out what’s causing the missing synchronization messages and how to fix them, as well as gathering more data.

Severe issues in Hubble

The problem, according to NASA, will not be remedied immediately. The recovery efforts are likely to take at least one week, according to the agency. This is Hubble’s third serious problem this year, after being in orbit since April 1990. The telescope was taken offline for more than four days in March due to a software update failure.

A payload computer that controls the equipment failed in June. For nearly five weeks, this resulted in troubles with the telescope. The scenario remained the same until the controllers finished switching to a backup computer.

Despite these issues, astronomers are optimistic that Hubble will continue to operate for the rest of the decade. Officials from the Space Telescope Science Institute stated they were working on initiatives at an American Astronomical Society meeting in early June. Its goal was to extend the telescope’s and its instruments’ lives until 2030.

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