NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is back to work with all of its scientific instruments fully operational after more than a month orbiting Earth in “safe mode,” NASA said, according to NASA.
On Saturday (July 17), engineers revived the satellite, launched in 1990 and built using equipment from the 1980s, after identifying a possible malfunction in the Hubble Telescope’s power control unit, which “provides a stable supply of voltage to the payload computer hardware.” according to NASA.
This payload computer suddenly went offline on June 13, automatically shutting down all of the satellite’s scientific instruments and putting them in a “safe mode” configuration. Living Science previously reported… Technicians tried several times to reboot the sick computer, but to no avail.
But last week, NASA engineers discovered that the source of the malfunction is likely in a special protection circuit that prevents the satellite’s power control unit from sending too much or too little power to the payload computer. According to NASA, if the supply voltage falls outside safe operating levels, the circuit will automatically inform the payload computer to shut down.
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“The team’s analysis suggests that either the voltage level from the regulator is outside acceptable levels (thereby disabling the secondary protection circuit), or the secondary protection circuit has degraded over time and is stuck in this inhibit state,” NASA wrote on July 14.
NASA technicians solved this problem by switching operations to a standby satellite payload computer and activating the standby power control unit.
Once loaded with this backup equipment, the satellite will be able to continue observing space – and hopefully work in tandem with the new James Webb Space Telescope. expected to launch later this year – according to NASA, for many years to come. Scheduled space observations, which the satellite missed for a month in safe mode, will be postponed to a later date, the agency added.
Originally published on Live Science.