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Hubble placed in safe mode as gyro issues investigated

12 October 2018

NASA is working to resume operations on the Hubble Space Telescope after one of the spacecraft's gyroscope's failed. "Staff at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre 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".

Out of the six gyroscopes mounted on it, two of the older design gyroscope have a history of failing after just 50,000 hours after being sent in the space which left the observatory with total four gyroscopes of which, Hubble used two newer and one older design of gyroscope keeping one newer version as a reserve for future.

The first part became a rescue mission: Astronauts flew the space shuttle Discovery to Hubble that December to install all new gyroscopes and a new computer.2004: Final shuttle mission canceledAfter the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated while re-entering Earth's atmosphere in 2003, NASA canceled the planned fifth and final Hubble reservicing mission. In a series of tweets and a press release, the space agency revealed that one of the three gyroscopes (gyros) that is now in use failed. The remaining three available for use are technically enhanced, and, therefore, are expected to have significantly longer operational lives.

Broken one of the gyroscopes that keep the telescope in the right direction. Like cataracts, he says, it's "a sign of aging, but there's a very good remedy."While we wait for news of how Hubble is faring, here's a look back at some of its previous hiccups and fix missions.1990: The blurry mirrorOn June 27, 1990, three months after the space telescope launched, astronomers discovered an aberration in Hubble's primary mirror".

As of now, two of those enhanced gyros are in running condition.

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NASA has not released a projected timeline, but they are optimistic that the Hubble Space Telescope will be in normal operations soon. For this, Hubble will remain in safe mode.

"While reduced-gyro mode offers less sky coverage at any particular time, there is relatively limited impact on the overall scientific capabilities", NASA added.

Launched in 1990, Hubble is no stranger to issues. In other words, it has been the most critical asset that helped scientists take a better look at the Universe that, thanks to Hubble, is a little less unknown today.

Astronomers have recently been talking about how they can extend Hubble's life so that it could continue to serve the astronomy community.

Hubble placed in safe mode as gyro issues investigated