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NASA says Hubble telescope is back after computer glitch fixed

By
Don Jacobson
On April 25, 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was deployed from the cargo bay of space shuttle Discovery. Hubble, pictured here during its release, has one of its two solar array panels deployed while still in the grasp of Discovery's remote manipulator system. NASA/UPI
On April 25, 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was deployed from the cargo bay of space shuttle Discovery. Hubble, pictured here during its release, has one of its two solar array panels deployed while still in the grasp of Discovery's remote manipulator system. NASA/UPI | License Photo

July 17 (UPI) -- Engineers at NASA say they have fixed a computer problem that had sidelined the Hubble Space Telescope for more than a month.

The space agency said in an update issued Friday it had repaired a payload computer problem by successfully switching to backup hardware on the aging telescope and have re-established communications with all of its instruments.

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"The switch was performed to compensate for a problem with the original payload computer that occurred on June 13 when the computer halted, suspending science data collection," NASA said.

The Hubble team "is now monitoring the hardware to ensure that everything is working properly," it added.

Meanwhile, engineers are also seeking to switch Hubble's science instruments out of their "safe mode" configuration -- a process expected to last into Saturday "as the team runs various procedures and ensures the instruments are at stable temperatures."

Scientists will then carry out initial calibrations before resuming normal science operations.

The payload computer, part of Hubble's Science Instrument Command and Data Handling unit, or SI C&DH unit, controls the telescope's many scientific instruments. When it froze, Hubble's instruments automatically halted operations and went into "safe mode."

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After weeks of investigation, engineers at NASA traced the problem to Hubble's Power Control Unit, or PCU, which is also located in the SI C&DH unit.

25th anniversary of NASA's Hubble

This June 9, 2005 NASA false-color picture shows the supernova remnant of Cassiopeia A. This image is made up of images taken by NASA's, Spitzer Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory. UPI/NASA | License Photo

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