The Hubble Space Telescope is fully operational again

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The Hubble Space Telescope is fully operational again. That’s what NASA reports. All four scientific instruments for space observation such as cameras and spectrometers have been collecting data again since the beginning of the week. According to NASA, no synchronization messages have been lost since the beginning of November. Such problems were the reason for Hubble’s automatic shutdown at the end of October.

Hubble first noticed the loss of these sync messages on October 23rd. The scientific instruments were then reset. The synchronization messages provide important time information so that the instruments can respond correctly to commands and data requests.

Hubble resumed work the following day. A day later, several of these reports were lost, whereupon Hubble stopped research because of the renewed problems. Since then, Hubble has been largely inactive. On Monday the NASA according to its own information the Hubble Space Telescope was completely reactivated. Now the software of the instruments is to be further developed and tested in order to be able to continue scientific work in the future without synchronization messages.

The “Cosmic Origins Spectrograph” (COS), a spectrometer for researching the structure of the universe and the evolution of galaxies, stars and planets, will receive its software update in mid-December. The other space observation instruments are slated to receive similar updates in the coming months.

Hubble is a joint project between NASA and the European ESA. The telescope was brought into space with a space shuttle in 1990. After initial difficulties, it has since fundamentally changed and shaped the general image of the universe with photos of stars, galaxies and much more.

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The Monkey Head Nebula in Orion
(Image: ESA / Hubble)

Recently, Hubble showed its old age several times. Since the end of the space shuttle, the facility can no longer be visited or serviced by people. Hubble had to take a week-long break in the summer. A successor is already ready: the James Webb Space Telescope is due to fly into space in mid-December.


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