Science

NASA returns the Hubble space telescope to full science operations

NASA has brought the Hubble Space Telescope back online after a recent failure. (Image credit: NASA)

Hubble is back in business.

The Hubble Space Telescope is back in full operation after a technical problem shut down its science instruments. Yesterday (December 6), NASA’s Hubble team recovered the observatory’s space telescope imaging spectrograph, the last of the telescope’s instruments to come online after recent problems, the agency announced today (December 7).

“The team will continue to work on developing and testing changes to the instrument’s software that would allow them to conduct science operations even if they encounter multiple missing sync messages in the future,” NASA wrote in the announcement.

Related: The Best Hubble Space Telescope Images of All Time

In late October, Hubble experienced a problem with the timing of its internal communications. This disconnected the four science instruments from the oscilloscope and temporarily put Hubble into operation. The first of the instruments to come back online, the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), was operational again on November 7, while the remaining four instruments remained in a “safe mode” for protection.

The Hubble team will continue to work to prevent such problems in the future, and the first of these changes will be a software update scheduled to be installed in mid-December on Hubble’s Cosmic Origins Spectrograph instrument. Hubble’s other science instruments will also receive software updates in the coming months, NASA said in the statement.

Hubble will soon be joined in space by another powerful telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope, a collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. Webb observes in infrared to be able to make unique observations that complement those of Hubble.

“With the launch of the Webb Telescope planned for later this month, NASA expects the two observatories to work together well into this decade, expanding our understanding of the cosmos even further,” NASA added in the announcement.

Email Chelsea Gohd at cgohd@ or follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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