A Software Error Sent NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Into Safe Mode Last Sunday – Now It Has Recovered

Hubble Space Telescope Image

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Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: NASA

NASA is working to return the Hubble Space Telescope to science operations after solving an issue with a secure aboard. Hubble went into safe mode on Sunday, March 7, quickly after 4 a.m. EST, following detection of a software application mistake within the spacecraft’s primary computer system.

The spacecraft was vacated safe mode into a pre-science state the other day (Thursday, March 11, 2021) and after that went back to regular operations at 8: 00 p.m. EST.

Safe mode puts the telescope into a steady setup up until services can be executed from the ground to fix an issue and return the objective to regular operations. There are differing variations of safe mode depending upon the issue came across.

The objective operations group at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center recognized the software application mistake in an improvement just recently published to the spacecraft to assist make up for variations from among its gyroscopes. These gadgets are utilized to assist Hubble turn and lock on to brand-new targets by determining the speed at which the spacecraft is turning. They identified that the improvement did not have authorization to compose to a particular place in computer system memory, which triggered a concern with the primary flight computer system and consequently triggered the spacecraft to get in a safe mode.

The group will upgrade the software application improvement so the repair can be published to the spacecraft in the future. In the meantime, the improvement will be restricted from being utilized.

In getting in safe mode on Sunday, nevertheless, the group found that the aperture door situated at the top of the telescope stopped working to immediately close. This door is a secure developed to keep the sun’s destructive light and heat out of the telescope’s interior, securing its delicate instruments and their environments. It works as a safeguard if Hubble unintentionally points in the instructions of the sun due to a mistake or hardware issue. In more than 30 years Hubble has actually remained in orbit, the aperture door has actually never ever closed since of the detection of such intense items.

The group has actually taken a look at spacecraft engineering information, run different tests, and validated that the door did undoubtedly stay open in spite of the commands and power being sent out to close it. Additional tries to move the door by sending out commands from the ground to its main motor likewise stopped working to make the door relocation. However, the exact same commands sent out from the ground to its backup motor did show motion, which motor is now set as the main motor. The group is taking a look at alternatives to even more decrease any involved danger.

During the procedure of moving the spacecraft into its pre-science state, the Wide Field Camera 3 instrument experienced an unforeseen mistake, suspending it from going back to operations. The group is presently examining that problem and possible services.

All other instruments have actually been recuperated without any problems. Hubble will be gone back to science operations Thursday night, without any Wide Field Camera 3 observations set up up until the group deals with that problem.

Hubble’s instruments are anticipated to produce ground-breaking science for several years to come.

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