NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope suffered another major setback

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope took a steep fall into safe mode again on Friday, but the agency said the three major onboard computer systems were still functioning.

The space agency issued a brief statement just after 7 a.m. ET saying the instrument, which saw partial mission failure in January, was again operating normally. In that month, Hubble will turn 21 years old.

“We are moving forward very quickly,” an agency spokeswoman said. “The Hubble team is working diligently to resolve this latest issue.”

It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the outages, which occurred just before 8 a.m. after the telescope was switched off for 10 minutes. There were no fatalities or injuries.

At the time, the NASA Space Telescope Science Institute said all three major computer systems -which are used to process images and interpret data – were lost. The same type of computer problem, called a “nova event,” caused the Hubble Space Telescope to crash in January 1993.

The cause of that problem was determined to be incorrectly coupled, or biased, computer memory, which caused the observatory to leave its primary orbit. The space agency said on Friday that the space telescope would return to its primary orbit as soon as possible.

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