25 October 2018
SPACE reports that NASA’s “long-suffering” Kepler Space Telescope returned to sleep mode “just a few days after its most recent observing campaign began, the agency said in a statement released” Tuesday. According to the agency, “Following a successful return of data from the last observation campaign, the Kepler team commanded the spacecraft into position to begin collecting data for its next campaign,” and on Friday “during a regularly scheduled spacecraft contact using NASA’s Deep Space Network, the team learned that the spacecraft had transitioned to its no-fuel-use sleep mode.” Kepler engineers have been “worried about the spacecraft’s fuel supplies since this spring, and in recent months the telescope has conducted only partial observing campaigns, then fallen asleep to ensure it has enough juice to send the data back to Earth.” Despite this and a separate issue with alignment, “Kepler has been an overwhelming success and is now an iconic NASA project,” identifying more than 2,650 planets orbiting stars. (Image: Artist’s conception of the Kepler space telescope observing planets. Credit: NASA Ames/ W Stenzel via Wikimedia Commons)
More Info (SPACE)