Hubble in trouble as telescope ‘suffers failure and goes into safe mode’

Cesar Mills
October 9, 2018

Only two of those enhanced gyros are now running.

All six of Hubble's gyroscopes were replaced by space station astronauts during a servicing mission in 2009, but only two of those are now functioning properly.

The Hubble Space Telescope has been sidelined by a serious pointing problem.

If needed, the Hubble Space Telescope can operate using just one gyroscope; and, as we saw with the Kepler Space Telescope, which lost the second of its four reaction wheels in 2013, a space telescope can continue to be useful even after it loses its ability to point effectively.

"NASA is working to resume science operations of the Hubble Space Telescope after the spacecraft entered safe mode on Friday, October 5, shortly after 6:00 pm EDT, "the agency wrote".

As a result, Hubble is in so-called safe mode with non-essential systems turned off, putting all science observations on hold.

Dr. Rachel Osten, the deputy head of the Hubble mission, said the first step "is to try to bring back the last gyro, which had been off, and is being problematic".

But when the telescope's operators switched the instrument to running on all three enhanced gyroscopes, one wasn't working quite as well as it should have been. Experts at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and the Space Telescope Science Institute are analyzing the situation and conducting tests to find out whether the third gyro can be recovered.

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Olsten confirmed the problem would not mean the end of Hubble.

"We knew it was coming", Osten added.

'There isn't much difference between 2- and 1, and it buys lots of extra observing time.

'Which the Astro community wants desperately.

'The gyro lasted about six months longer than we thought it would (almost pulled the plug on it back in the spring).

'We'll work through the issues and be back'. The Hubble Space Telescope floats against the background of Earth after a week of fix and upgrade by Space Shuttle Columbia astronauts in 2002.

One of the telescope's most famous images is a portion of the Eagle Nebula, known as the "Pillars of Creation", which shows three columns of cold gas illuminated by light from a cluster of young stars.

Other reports by GizPress

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