The Hubble Is Back Online after a Month in the Dark

The Hubble Is Back Online after a Month in the Dark
Image: NASA/Smithsonian Institution/Lockheed Corporation

After a dicey few weeks for the iconic Hubble telescope, NASA has finally fixed its mysterious glitch.

If you missed what happened to Earth’s most famous space eye, on June 13 an onboard computer stopped unexpectedly, causing all of the Hubble’s systems to revert to safe mode.

This issue with the payload computer caused all science operations on the telescope to be stalled for just over a month.

After a wide array of tests, NASA engineers identified that the issue possibly had something to do with the Power Control Unit that supplies electricity to the payload computer.

The Hubble was first launched in 1990 and after 31 years of providing us awesome images of space, it didn’t look too good for the old sport. Thankfully, all hope was not lost for the faithful telescope.

The Hubble is back in action

On July 17, NASA announced it had returned the Hubble telescope back to its science operations and that all its instruments were back in action.

After switching on the backup computer on the Hubble on July 16 the team at NASA were able to recover the telescope’s science instruments out of safe mode.

“Hubble is an icon, giving us incredible insight into the cosmos over the past three decades,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

“I’m proud of the Hubble team, from current members to Hubble alumni who stepped in to lend their support and expertise. 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.”

The Hubble will now continue to bring us new information on the universe. All missed science operations during the shutdown, such as Deep Field week, are being rescheduled.

Despite growing concerns that this shutdown was related to Hubble’s old age, NASA is confident the telescope will last “for many more years to come.”

That being said, the space agency is planning the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope later in the year, which is intended to be the Hubble’s successor.