Hubble Space Telescope Withdrawn Offline Succeeding Gyroscope Collapse
Hubble Space Telescope Withdrawn Offline Succeeding Gyroscope Collapse
NASE ESA's Hubble is going to be an astonishing 30 years old in 2020...
11 October, 2018, 09:31
Bottom line: The Hubble Space Telescope has been in safe mode since last Friday evening, following the failure of one of the gyros that helps stabilize it. NASA is analyzing the problem and hopes to resume operations soon. "It just might be if we have to look at a particular region of the sky at a particular time Hubble may not be able to point there because of that extra restriction when we're in a reduced-gyro mode".
NASA sent a December 1999 Space Shuttle service mission (described here) that replaced failed gyros, and a mission in 2009 (the one Hubble's twitter team referred to) again replaced gyros to extend the telescope's life.
The telescope was put in a safe mode for self-protection purposes, so it only performs its absolutely necessary functions, while NASA scientists are trying to solve the problem, as the BBC broadcasts and relays the Athenian News agency.
"Hubble's instruments still are fully operational and are expected to produce excellent science for years to come", NASA added.
Hubble is equipped with six gyroscopes to orient the telescope.
"It's true. Very stressful weekend". If the outcome of this investigation results in recovery of the malfunctioning gyro, Hubble will resume science operations in its standard three-gyro configuration.
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Launched aboard the shuttle Discovery in April 1990, Hubble is one of the most scientifically productive spacecraft ever built, generating a steady stream of astronomical discoveries and iconic photos familiar to millions around the world.
The James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to Hubble, is scheduled to be launched in March 2021. These six gyroscopes were replaced during a 2009 fix mission to the telescope. However, Hubble can operate in a limited capacity using a single gyroscope. Two of the gyros onboard which were similar types also previously failed.
"The plan has always been to drop to 1-gyro mode when two remain", Rachel Osten, deputy head of the Hubble mission, said on Twitter.
The space agency says that at least three gyros are required for "optimal operations".
But that doesn't mean it's time to panic. Hubble usually uses three gyros at a time for maximum efficiency, but can continue to make scientific observations with just one. If Hubble breaks down completely before that date, astronomers will be without a space telescope.
"So we turned it on as planned and the gyro was not reading the rates the way it should", Sembach said.
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