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NASA's IBEX spacecraft back to normal operations

Asteroid, Psyche, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Solar System, Spacecraft, Interstellar Boundary Explorer, NASA, what is a meteoroid

NASA's IBEX spacecraft back to normal operations

NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) spacecraft is back to normal operations after being in contingency mode for more than a week due to a glitch in its propulsion system. The spacecraft had gone into contingency mode on February 26, 2023, and engineers had been working to resolve the issue since then.

The IBEX spacecraft was launched in 2008 and is designed to study the boundary between our solar system and interstellar space. It carries a suite of instruments that measure the particles and fields in this region, providing important insights into the interaction between our solar system and the rest of the galaxy.

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The glitch in the propulsion system was caused by a faulty valve that regulates the flow of fuel to the spacecraft's thrusters. The valve was stuck in an open position, causing the thrusters to fire continuously and use up the spacecraft's fuel. This put the spacecraft in danger of losing its orientation and tumbling out of control.

Engineers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland worked around the clock to develop a fix for the problem. They first tried to close the valve using commands from the ground, but that didn't work. They then sent a series of commands to the spacecraft's onboard computer to bypass the faulty valve and activate a backup valve. This worked, and the spacecraft was able to regain control of its orientation and stop firing its thrusters.

The IBEX spacecraft is now back to normal operations, and engineers are monitoring it closely to ensure that it remains stable. The spacecraft is expected to continue its mission for several more years, providing valuable data on the boundary between our solar system and interstellar space.

In recent years, NASA has been working on several missions to explore the universe beyond our solar system. In addition to IBEX, the agency has launched missions to study exoplanets, search for signs of extraterrestrial life, and map the structure of the universe. These missions are helping scientists to better understand the nature of the universe and our place in it.

Keywords: NASA, IBEX spacecraft, contingency mode, propulsion system, interstellar space, solar system, Goddard Space Flight Center, Maryland, thrusters, valve, fix, orientation, backup valve, stable, mission, exoplanets, extraterrestrial life, universe.

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