Science.-NASA investigates repeated errors in the Hubble telescope

02-11-2021 Hubble Space Telescope POLICY RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY NASA (NASA /)


NASA is investigating why the instruments of the Hubble Space Telescope, launched in 1990, repeatedly entered a safe mode configuration in late October, suspending science operations.

The instruments are in good condition and will remain in safe mode while the mission team continues its investigation, the agency said in a statement.

Hubble’s science instruments issued error codes on October 23, indicating the loss of a specific timing message. This message provides time information that the instruments use to correctly respond to data requests and commands. The mission team restarted the instruments and resumed science operations the next morning.

On October 25, the scientific instruments again issued error codes indicating multiple loss of synchronization messages. As a result, the science instruments autonomously entered safe mode states as scheduled.

Mission team members are evaluating the spacecraft data and system diagrams to better understand the timing problem and how to tackle it. They are also developing and testing procedures to collect additional data from the spacecraft. These activities are expected to take at least a week.

The rest of the spacecraft is working as expected.

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