The Hubble Space Telescope, as it appeared on 25 April 1990 when it was released from the space shuttle Discovery. The legendary observatory has been in operation for 31 years. Image: NASA/Smithsonian Institution/Lockheed Corporation
After weeks of troubleshooting, engineers have resolved a subtle glitch that knocked the Hubble Space Telescope out of action last month, carefully switching over to backup components in its payload computer system and returning the observatory to normal science operations.
“I’m proud of the Hubble team, from current members to Hubble alumni who stepped in to lend their support and expertise,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a 17 July statement. “Thanks to their dedication and thoughtful work, Hubble will continue to build on its 31-year legacy, broadening our horizons with its view of the universe.”
That’s the good news. The bad news is that Hubble no longer has redundancy in a critical system and a subsequent failure in the payload computer module would be much more difficult to resolve. But for now, Hubble appears healthy, allowing science observations to resume.
The telescope went into protective “safe mode” 13 July when it ran into a problem with its science instrument command and data handling computer, or ...