NASA's EPOXI spacecraft has temporarily halted EPOCH (Extrasolar Planet Observation and Characterization) observations starting this past Sunday, Feb. 17. The pause was generated when the spacecraft entered a condition called safe mode a condition where all but essential systems are turned off until the spacecraft receives new commands from mission control.
Safe mode was entered while the EPOXI spacecraft was turning to an optimal attitude to transmit data to Earth. The spacecraft is currently communicating with Earth, and EPOXI mission controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., anticipate no major challenges to returning the spacecraft to the planned EPOCH observations. They believe the safe mode was triggered when one of the reaction wheels, which helps maintain spacecraft attitude, experienced slightly higher temperatures than what the on-board fault protection software would allow.
Media contacts: DC Agle 818-393-9011
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.