NASA announced that it successfully switched the Hubble Space Telescope over to backup hardware on Friday, starting the process of bringing the telescope back online after a payload computer failure last month. The issue, which resulted in the suspension of Hubble’s data collection, is believed to have stemmed from the telescope’s power control unit. With the backup hardware up and running, Hubble’s science operations are expected to resume in the next few days.
“The Hubble team is now monitoring the hardware to ensure that everything is working properly,” NASA said. “The team has also started the process for recovering the science instruments out of their safe mode configuration. This activity is expected to take more than a day as the team runs various procedures and ensures the instruments are at stable temperatures.”
Several unsuccessful attempts were made to restart and reconfigure the failed computer before NASA made the decision to switch to the backup. According to the agency, the Hubble’s payload computer is a NASA Standard Spacecraft Computer-1 (NSSC-1) system built in the 1980s. NASA reports that the Hubble Space Telescope has collected more than 1.5 million observations and over 18,000 scientific papers have been published using its data since the telescope was launched in 1990.