Kepler Mission Manager Update
During the scheduled Feb. 1, 2011 contact with the Kepler spacecraft, engineers discovered Kepler was in Safe Mode, with photometer and star trackers powered off. In Safe Mode, Kepler slowly rotates along a sun-aligned axis with solar arrays pointed at the sun. This is a self protection mechanism that the spacecraft enters when something unexpected occurs on the spacecraft. Analysis of all spacecraft data indicates all subsystems remain healthy. Engineers are evaluating data from the spacecraft subsystems to determine the cause of the entry into Safe Mode. The assessment of the Spacecraft data indicates a temporary condition in the pointing system triggered the fault. The project team engineers have begun the recovery process, and will be using multiple contacts with the NASA Deep Space Network to continue the recovery back to science data collection. Updates will be posted as the team makes progress in the recovery.