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Hubble Team Advanced Camera Surveys Search Continues

Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf is a law graduate and freelance journalist with a keen interest in tech reporting.

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The Hubble team successfully recovered the advanced camera for survey instrument on November 7th. The instrument has begun taking science observations once again. Hubble’s other instruments remain in safe mode. At the same time, NASA continues investigating the lost synchronization messages first detected on Oct. 23. The camera was selected as the first instrument to recover as it faces the fewest complications should a lost message occur. 

On November 7th, the Hubble team successfully recovered the advanced camera for the survey instrument. The instrument has resumed taking scientific observations. While NASA investigates the missed synchronization messages discovered on October 23, Hubble’s other equipment remains in safe mode.

The camera was chosen as the first instrument to be recovered since it has the fewest issues if a message is lost. The mission team has been studying the core cause of the synchronization issues for the past week and has found no new issues.

This week, the team will continue investigating potential short-term solutions and producing implementation estimates. Once this is accomplished, the team will explore restarting science observations and returning the remaining equipment to operational status.

NASA makes additional efforts to study Hubble instruments in Safe Mode on November 4th. After identifying a lack of specific data synchronization messages, the science instruments went into safe mode on October 25.

The Hubble team is concentrating its efforts on isolating the problem to hardware in the Science Instrument Command and Data Handling Unit that commands the equipment. The team is examining the Control Unit’s electronics, which generate synchronization messages and sends them to the instruments.

The team is investigating the Control Unit to see if there are any feasible workarounds for the problem. These include improvements to instrument flight software that could detect and correct for missing messages without putting the instruments into safe mode. Ground simulators would be used to test these workarounds to verify they perform as intended.



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