Source: News Bharati English12 Apr 2016 12:35:31

Deep Space, April 12: The Goosebumps on a prolonged weekend of NASA Mission operations engineers have at last stopped after they successfully recovered the Kepler spacecraft from Emergency Mode (EM). On Sunday morning, the spacecraft reached a stable state with the communication antenna pointed toward Earth, enabling telemetry and historical event data to be downloaded to the ground. The spacecraft is operating in its lowest fuel-burn mode.

It was a long weekend for Kepler and the team, but the spacecraft has been recovered! says, Team Kepler

 

The mission has cancelled the spacecraft emergency, returning the Deep Space Network ground communications to normal scheduling.

During a scheduled contact on Thursday, April 7, mission operations engineers discovered that the Kepler spacecraft was in Emergency Mode (EM). EM is the lowest operational mode and is fuel intensive. The mission then declared a spacecraft emergency, which provides priority access to ground-based communications at the agency's Deep Space Network.

The last regular contact with the spacecraft was on April 4.  The spacecraft was in good health and operating as expected.

Initial indications were that Kepler entered EM before mission operations began the maneuver to orient the spacecraft to point toward the center of the Milky Way for the K2 mission's microlensing observing campaign.

The spacecraft is nearly 75 million miles from Earth, making the communication slow. Even at the speed of light, it takes 13 minutes for a signal to travel to the spacecraft and back.

Once data is on the ground, the team will thoroughly assess all on board systems to ensure the spacecraft is healthy enough to return to science mode and begin the K2 mission's microlensing observing campaign, called Campaign 9. This checkout is anticipated to continue through the week.

Earth-based observatories participating in Campaign 9 will continue to make observations as Kepler's health check continues. The K2 observing opportunity for Campaign 9 will end on July 1, when the galactic center is no longer in view from the vantage point of the spacecraft.

Kepler completed its prime mission in 2012, detecting nearly 5,000 exoplanets, of which, more than 1,000 have been confirmed. In 2014 the Kepler spacecraft began a new mission called K2. In this extended mission, K2 continues the search for exoplanets while introducing new research opportunities to study young stars, supernovae, and many other astronomical objects.