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‘It’s alive!’ — NASA returns Hubble Space Telescope to science operations

NASA said the computer that runs the Hubble spacecraft remained online.

NASA has returned the science instruments on the Hubble Space Telescope to operational status, and the collection of science data will now resume. Credits: NASA/Smithsonian Institution/Lockheed Corporation. Public Domain
NASA has returned the science instruments on the Hubble Space Telescope to operational status, and the collection of science data will now resume. Credits: NASA/Smithsonian Institution/Lockheed Corporation. Public Domain

After experiencing a technical glitch in its payload computer that left The Hubble Space Telescope in a “safe mode” for over a month, NASA said it has successfully switched operations over to its backup computer  The computer that runs the Hubble spacecraft remained online.

“NASA has successfully switched to backup hardware on the Hubble Space Telescope, including powering on the backup payload computer, on July 15,” the space agency announced on Friday.

After recalibrating some of the telescope’s instruments on Saturday, it was ready to begin collecting data to further our understanding of the universe, reports CNET.

As for when the telescope will beam its first breathtaking images back to Earth since the restart, the wait should be a short one.

“The first observations will hopefully be done over the weekend,” James Jeletic, Hubble’s deputy project manager, told NPR. Accounting for the time it takes to receive and process the data, he predicted, “you probably would see the first images come out sometime at the beginning of next week.”

The iconic Hubble Telescope has been in service for over 30 years, being launched in 1990. It has taken over 1.5 million observations of the universe, and over 18,000 scientific papers have been published with its data, according to NASA.

In working to find a solution to the telescope’s problem, the NASA team studied schematics of the original designs that date back decades. “We even had people come out of retirement who were experts in these areas on Hubble to help us,” Jeletic said.

The system’s successful restart, he added, “has a lot to say for the people who designed the spacecraft 40 years ago.”

Written By

Karen Graham is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for environmental news. Karen's view of what is happening in our world is colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in man's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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