Hubble Space Telescope recovers from latest glitch, gets back to science

NASA and ESA's aging telescope shows its tenacity once again.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser

The Hubble Space Telescope is doing pretty darn well for an observatory that's spent over three decades in space. NASA announced on Tuesday that Hubble is fully back in operation after an issue with error codes related to "synchronization issues with internal spacecraft communications" cropped up in late October.

The Hubble team spent time troubleshooting the problem and slowly bringing the telescope's science instruments back online. "The team has still not detected any further synchronization message issues since monitoring began Nov. 1," NASA said.

The telescope went into safe mode and suspended science operations when the errors first occurred. It was the latest in a series of technical glitches that have cropped up in recent years. Despite encountering issues -- including the need to switch to backup hardware earlier this year -- Hubble has managed to persevere.

The telescope is a joint project from NASA and the European Space Agency. The Hubble team hopes to apply some software fixes so the telescope will continue its observations even if the synchronization issue crops up again.

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Hubble is showing its age, but it could still last for many more years. The next-generation Webb Space Telescope is nearing its launch date, but it's not meant to kick Hubble into retirement. "NASA expects the two observatories will work together well into this decade, expanding our knowledge of the cosmos even further," the space agency said.