The Hubble is back! NASA revives the telescope by switching to a backup computer

After about a month of trying to fix the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA finally announced that it is back to operational status since 16 July 2021. The Hubble will resume to collect data after experiencing a problem on 13 June.

“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,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

The Hubble team has been investigating the cause of the payload computer problem since it first occurred on 13 June. After a week, the team had no success in fixing the problem and switched the telescope to a safe mode state.

On 14 July, NASA finally identified the possible cause of the payload computer problem and then successfully switched to backup hardware on the Hubble Space Telescope on 15 July. They didn’t specify what the possible problem was.

The Hubble Space Telescope has already gone straight to work the day it was fixed. It took an image of the globular cluster NGC 6380 (the image above)—which lies around 35,000 light-years from Earth.

According to NASA, the Hubble will last for “many more years and will continue making groundbreaking observations”. They will be working in tandem with other space observatories including the James Webb Space Telescope.

If you’re not too familiar with the work of the Hubble, we’ve produced a pretty cool stop-motion video about it (if I do say so myself). Thanks to the telescope, we’ve learnt about the rate of the expansion of the universe for over 31 years.


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Dzamira Dzafri