Fault sends Hubble Space Telescope into safe mode – NASA team investigates

The Hubble Space Telescope in orbit

The Hubble Space Telescope was launched by the space shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990. To avoid distortions of the atmosphere, Hubble has an unobstructed view of planets, stars, and galaxies some more than 13.4 billion light-years away. Credit: NASA

NASA continues to investigate why the instruments in Hubble Space Telescope recently went into safe state configuration and suspended scientific operations. The instruments are sound and will remain in safe condition while the mission team continues its investigation.

Hubble’s scientific instruments issued error codes at. 1:46 EDT on October 23, indicating the loss of a specific sync message. This message provides timing information that the instruments use to respond correctly to data requests and commands. The mission team reset the instruments and resumed scientific operations the following morning.

At 2:38 AM EDT, on October 25, scientific instruments again issued error codes indicating multiple loss of synchronization messages. As a result, the scientific instruments went autonomously into safe mode as programmed.

Mission team members evaluate spacecraft data and system diagrams to better understand the synchronization issue and how to resolve 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 operating as expected.

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