Hubble in safe mode after gyro failure

Hubble in safe mode after gyro failure

Hubble in safe mode after gyro failure

However, in the article issued by NASA this gyroscope has been exhibiting "end-of-life" behavior for a year, and the failure was no surprise, as two other gyros have also failed.

This is, of course, not the end for the venerable telescope, which launched in 1990 - yes, it's coming up to 30 years old! - and has had five servicing missions in the time since. "First step is to try to bring back the last gyro, which had been off, and is being problematic", Osten said on Twitter.

The gyroscopes on board the Hubble Space Telescope are highly significant in steering the spacecraft to get a steady view of space.

It's crucial that Hubble remain operational for at least the next few years, because its replacement, the James Webb Space Telescope, has been delayed until at least 2021.

Ken Sembach, director of the Space Telescope Science Institute at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said the Hubble team is optimistic the problem can be resolved.

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.

"Science operations with Hubble have been suspended while NASA investigates the anomaly", a statement from the space agency said.

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has entered safe mode following a gyroscope failure, according to the space agency.

These six gyroscopes were replaced during a 2009 fix mission to the telescope.

Dr Rachel Osten, the deputy head of the Hubble mission, said it had been a "very stressful weekend".

We know that the unit has a total of six gyroscopes, because it was designed with multiple redundancy of all systems.

"We'll work through the issues and be back", she promised. But Hubble will still be able to do some useful science, and dropping down to one gyro instead of two effectively doubles its lifespan.

"The remaining three gyros available for use are technically enhanced and therefore expected to have significantly longer operational lives", NASA said today. It has no overall impact on the scientific capabilities of the decades-old space telescope but would mean limited sky coverage for scientists.

Hubble usually functions with three gyros, and before last week two of the standard gyros had failed (three of the six are standard, and three are enhanced, according to NASA spokespersons).

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