Hubble Space Telescope in ‘safe mode’ – engineers troubleshooting

Hubble Space Telescope in ‘safe mode’ – engineers troubleshooting
A cut-away view of the Hubble Space Telescope displaying its devices grouped behind the first mirror. A glitch within the system that synchronises instructions and information to and from the devices has put the telescope in protecting ‘safe mode’ whereas engineers troubleshoot the issue. Image: NASA

Engineers are troubleshooting a timing challenge within the electronics of the Hubble Space Telescope that has twice triggered protecting “safe mode” software program. While the remainder of the telescope’s methods are working usually, science operations have been suspended pending decision of the issue.

The challenge first cropped up on 23 October when Hubble’s science devices downlinked error codes indicating a synchronisation drawback stopping the right responses to instructions and requests for information. Engineers reset the devices and science observations resumed on 24 October.

But the subsequent day, the devices once more issued error codes indicating a number of situations of misplaced synchronisation. Again, the error codes triggered secure mode, a type of digital hibernation designed to maintain the observatory secure whereas engineers work to determine what’s inflicting the issue.

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“Mission team members are evaluating spacecraft data and system diagrams to better understand the synchronisation issue and how to address it,” NASA stated in a 1 November assertion. “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 glitch is one other reminder that Hubble, now in its thirty first 12 months of service, resides on borrowed time 12 years after a fifth and closing space shuttle servicing mission in 2009. While it has remained remarkably wholesome since then, ageing parts are anticipated to slowly however absolutely take their toll.

Most lately, engineers wanted weeks to resolve an issue with the telescope’s payload pc, ultimately switching over to backup parts in July to return the observatory to regular operation.

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