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

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

This safe mode of the telescope will be in place until ground control can correct the issue as well as take the mission back to normal operation.

After the failure of another gyroscope onboard, Nasa's Hubble Space Telescope has entered safe mode and due to this its science operations have been suspended, the USA space agency said. For this, Hubble will remain in safe mode.

This is not the first time that Hubble's gyroscopes have failed, as they were always problematic and all six of them had to be replaced in 2009. The Hubble Space Telescope also uses three gyroscopes at a time for "maximum efficiency", but it can also still make scientific observations with one.

"Hubble entered safe mode after one of the three gyroscopes actively being used to point and steady the telescope failed".

Staff at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and the Space Telescope Science Institute are now performing analyses and tests to determine what options are available to recover the gyro to operational performance.

Despite a history of critical parts failing, the Hubble Space Telescope and its findings led to breakthroughs about black holes, supernovas, and even dark energy.

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For nearly a year, the gyro that failed had been exhibiting end-of-life behavior, and its failure was not unexpected; another two gyros of the same type had already failed. While the remaining three gyros are "technically enhanced" and should be more operationally durable than the those that have failed, just two of them are now running.

Dr. Rachel Osten, deputy mission head for the Hubble Space Telescope, tweeted, "Very stressful weekend". Two have since died, leaving a backup and three working gyroscopes, one of which expired Friday.

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. The Hubble Space Telescope, after more than 28 years orbiting the Earth, is starting to fail, as predicted. "An Anomaly Review Board, including experts from the Hubble team and industry familiar with the design and performance of this type of gyro, is being formed to investigate this issue and develop the recovery plan".

"While reduced-gyro mode offers less sky coverage at any particular time, there is relatively limited impact on the overall scientific capabilities", NASA added. Hubble can operate with just two gyroscopes if necessary, as it did from 2005 to 2009 while waiting for astronauts to come fix it.

Amateur astronomers have also been given access to Hubble for research purposes.