NASA attempting to fix computer issues keeping Hubble Space Telescope offline

Hubble Space Telescope
Posted at 7:47 AM, Jun 23, 2021

NASA is working to restore operations to the Hubble Space Telescope — a satellite that has proved vital in reshaping scientists' understanding of the universe.

According to NASA, the agency first noticed issues with the telescope's onboard computer on June 13. Hubble's computer systems halted just after 4 p.m. ET, and at the time, the system put all science instruments aboard the satellite in safe mode.

For the past week, NASA has been trying several methods to restore function to the telescope. Initial system restarts weren't successful, leading researchers to believe there was an issue with the telescope's payload computer.

However, NASA reported Wednesday that several diagnostic tests showed that the issue might lie either with the telescope's Standard Interface (STINT) hardware or the computer's Central Processing Module (CPM).

NASA says it is currently designing more tests to determine the issue. If it can't provide a fix, the agency says it can switch STINT or CPM functions to a backup computer that was installed on the craft in 2009.

"The backup computer has not been powered on since its installation in 2009; however, it was thoroughly tested on the ground prior to installation on the spacecraft," the agency said in a press release.

The telescope was launched into orbit in 1990. Since the launch, it's been able to capture breathtaking images of the deep reaches of space, offering previously-unseen views of distant stars and galaxies.

NASA says the Hubble Spacecraft Computer system was built in the 1980s.