NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Put In Standby Due To Gyroscope Failure

Stunning space images taken from the Hubble telescope

Stunning space images taken from the Hubble telescope

A statement issued by the United States space agency said that Hubble entered safe mode on Friday, October 5, after one of the three gyros now used to position the telescope failed. Scientists are now performing analyses and tests to determine what options are available to recover the gyro to operational performance. That mission restored Hubble's cameras, installed new ones and crucially, left the space telescope with six new gyroscopes, three for immediate use and three backups. This mode puts the telescope into a stable configuration until ground control can correct the issue and return the mission to normal operation. It has been seen that three gyros are used by the Hubble at a time to get the maximum efficiency.

NASA became aware of the issue last Friday when a gyro, already displaying "end of life" behavior, went out of action.

The telescope is a veteran, according to experts, will be able to work in space for not more than ten years, after which it will probably wind up on the "cemetery of the satellites" in the Pacific ocean.

The other three gyros that are available onboard are expected to have significantly longer operational lives as they were technically enhanced. For the moment, NASA has left it out of circulation, since one of the gyroscopes stopped working last Friday, so aiming at any space object is more now hard.

Rachel Osten, the deputy mission head of the spacecraft, shared in a tweet that the team is trying to revive one of the gyros that failed.

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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.

NASA announced Monday that one of Hubble's gyroscopes failed last Friday.

Till then science operations with Hubble are suspended. "If the outcome of this investigation results in recovery of the malfunctioning gyro, Hubble will resume science operations in its standard three-gyro configuration". NASA is trying to resume the scientific activity of spacecraft kept on safe mode since October 5.

Besides delivering jaw-dropping images of the universe around us, Hubble is responsible for a series of scientific discoveries, including what may be the first-known exomoon in orbit around a world outside our solar system. This is certainly a serious problem for astronomers, as any slight variation could ruin the research and the validity of the data collected.

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