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Software failure of the Webb telescope spectrograph

NASA says Webb Space Telescope Near Infrared Imaging Instrument and Slitless Spectrograph currently unavailable for science operations due to a software glitch earlier this month.

In issue published The agency said yesterday that the problem began on January 15, when a communication delay caused the instrument to time out its flight software. Flight software is a critical aspect of any instrument operating in space as it governs the whole complex of operations on a given spacecraft, including its attitude, communications, data acquisition, and thermal control.

The NIRISS flight software timeout does not mean that Webb is about to lose position or anything else catastrophic. In fact, a NASA press release states that “there are no indications of any danger to the equipment, and the observatory and other instruments are in good health.” ANDNASA has announced that planned scientific observations will be rescheduled.

Webb completed his A million mile journey to L2, the region of space from which the observatory views the cosmos, a year ago this week. This is a picture of some surprisingly clear and informative views universe for six months of scientific activity.

But things have not been smooth sailing for the $10 billion space observatory. While his scientific instruments were commissioned without problems, one of Webb’s mirrors was damaged in May. hit a micrometeoroid– a very small rock that floats through outer space, causing damage, although the team said the optical performance of the telescope is still twice as good as mandatory.

There were also some software glitches. In August, the telescope’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (or MIRI) suffered a software glitch that forced it to stop working. until november. And in December There is a problem with the telescope’s orientation control, which determines where the telescope is pointing. Gluck put the telescope into safe mode. several times in the past month.

None of these problems are catastrophic. Keep in mind that the Hubble Space Telescope (Webb’s predecessor) continues to operate after more than 30 years in space. and received several software updates and fixes, including human hands. People won’t travel millions of miles through space to solve Webb’s problems, so NASA must solve software problems from scratch.

Space agencies can design future space observatories, upgraded with robotic servicebut for now, Webb will have to be serviced remotely.

Webb has already done a great job. and will Continue to illuminate the most ancient and dark regions of the cosmos. You can check out some of what is on the list.along with other astronomical plans for the year, here.

Read more: Zoom in on the Webb Telescope’s largest image


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