The Hubble telescope is fully operational again after a month-long nap

NASA had to shut the telescope down in late October following some communications issues.


NASA's Hubble telescope has been in a "coma" since going into system failure in late October — but today, the agency announced that it is waking Hubble up. After multiple instrument sync failures that required putting Hubble into safe mode, NASA says the telescope is now functioning as normal, with all four active instruments collecting data.

On October 23rd, NASA first noticed that Hubble's instruments weren't receiving sync messages from the telescope's control unit. Communications issues continued for several days, which led NASA to put the telescope into a sort of safe mode — something that takes a long time to come out of because of the sensitivity of Hubble's hardware. Rapid power or temperature changes aren't good for its lifespan, so NASA took its time here.

This shutdown was the second that was required in 2021, with another month-long "coma" taking place in July to deal with an unrelated issue. Given the 31-year-old telescope's age, it's entirely possible that Hubble is nearing the end of its useful life in space, but for now NASA expects Hubble to work in tandem with the Webb telescope "well into this decade." After numerous delays, the Webb telescope is expected to finally launch on December 22nd.