Hubble almost back to full operation after recent instrument recovery

On its road to recovery, NASA has brought one of Hubble's main scientific instruments back online as they work to restore Hubble.

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After recent technical issues that have plagued the Hubble Space Telescope, it nears full operational status following the recovery of its Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3).

Hubble almost back to full operation after recent instrument recovery 01

In late October 2021, NASA placed Hubble into safe mode, and its main scientific instruments ceased operation while NASA investigated synchronization errors related to internal system messages. There are five main scientific instruments aboard Hubble: the Advanced Camera System (ACS), the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, and the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph, and the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer.

On November 7th, NASA brought the ACS back online and has confirmed in an update on November 22nd that the WFC3 was restored to working condition the day prior. It is scheduled to continue scientific operations on November 23rd. Both instruments were recovered without significant alteration to their parameters.

"These changes would allow the instruments to handle several missed synchronization messages while continuing to operate normally if they occur in the future. These changes will first be applied to another instrument, the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, to further protect its sensitive far-ultraviolet detector. It will take the team several weeks to complete the testing and upload the changes to the spacecraft," wrote NASA officials as part of its November 22nd update.

WFC3 occupies more than a third of Hubble's observation time, so having it back in operation is a positive sign on the path returning to regular function.

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