Three out of four Hubble science instruments are functional

This year really has been fantastic for space exploration what with three missions arriving at Mars in February and many MANY launches to orbit or just below the Kármán line.

Unfortunately, it has also been a year of problems for the aging Hubble Space Telescope. At the beginning of November the space telescope entered safe mode after science instruments began spitting out error codes.

Throughout November, NASA has been trying to get those science instruments back to working order but considering Hubble is about 547km from Earth, it isn’t the easiest process.

As of Monday, three out of the four science instruments that are a part of Hubble are once again collecting scientific data. The most recent instrument that was recovered is the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph and it was retrieved on Sunday.

“The team also continued work on developing and testing changes to instrument software that would allow them to conduct science operations even if they encounter several lost synchronization messages in the future. Those changes would first be installed on the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph once they’re completed and tested within a few weeks. Hubble’s other instruments would also receive similar changes. The team has not detected further synchronization message issues since monitoring began Nov. 1,” NASA wrote in an update.

Importantly, the four science instruments are the only instruments that were spitting out errors, the rest of the telescope is working as expected.

The space exploration agency is also currently in the final stages of preparing the James Webb Space Telescope for launch in December. Last week the telescope was dropped causing vibrations in the main observatory. This prompted an inspection to ensure there was no damage which in turn delayed the launch to 22nd December.

NASA has said that no components were damaged as a result of the drop and launch is still on for 22nd December.

We’re hoping that the final instrument in Hubble is able to be repaired before the James Webb Space Telescope launches although NASA has until late 2022 before the telescope arrives at its Lagrange point L2 destination.




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