Hubble Space Telescope Apparently in ‘Safe Mode’ After Gyroscope Failure

11 October, 2018, 03:25 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • Hubble Space Telescope sidelined by serious pointing failure

The Hubble telescope has three pairs of two gyroscopes, with each match composed of a paramount and back up gyroscope.

In a statement October 8, NASA said the spacecraft went into a protective safe mode around 5 p.m. That would permit one of the two gyros to be turned off, preserving its life until it's needed when the other fails. Still, the telescope can function with just two gyros, and it could even continue observing the universe with just one.

Scientists had already planned to reduce Hubble to using only a single gyroscope at a time once it was down to three, that being meant to prolong the space telescope's lifespan for as long as possible. 5 after one of three gyros actively being used to orient the spacecraft malfunctioned. As per NASA the gyro that was unsuccessful last week had been manifesting end of life performance for a time span of a year and its collapse was not unanticipated. It's worth nothing that the gyroscope failure wasn't unexpected; the problem is how to deal with it. Another gyro failed. First step is try to bring back the last gyro, which had been off, and is being problematic'.

"Don't worry, Hubble has many great years of science ahead", says Kenneth Sembach, director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, which operates Hubble.

The 28-year-old telescope has had trouble with its gyroscopes before.

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Astronomers are anxiously awaiting the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled for 2021, but until then Hubble remains the most powerful space telescope in the sky - and the best tool for peering deep into space.

Hubble is equipped with six gyros to precisely point the spacecraft, which were replaced in the final shuttle servicing mission in 2009.

If the outcome indicates that the gyro is not usable, Hubble will resume science operations in an already defined "reduced-gyro" mode that uses only one gyro.

However, according to NASA, after the third enhanced gyro was powered back up, it did not perform "at the level required for operations". The remaining three available for use are technically enhanced, and, therefore, are expected to have significantly longer operational lives.

However, if that does not work, she said that the plan has always been to just use one of the remaining gyros and keep the other one as a reserve. "NASA is working to resume science operations", NASA said in an official statement.

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