NASA is definitely having a hard time with its telescopes.
NASA announced on Monday it traced the cause to a gyroscope glitch that generated "a three-second period of bad data that in turn led the onboard computer to calculate an incorrect value for the spacecraft momentum".
The NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, which shut down and entered into safe mode on October 10, has bounced back from the problem it suffered because of failure of one of its gyroscopes. Analysis of available data indicates the transition to safe mode was normal behavior for such an event.
Since the spacecraft was launched in 1999, it has been closely monitoring and X-raying our universe. The observatory spies on objects that include black holes, galaxies, supernovas, high-temperature gases, and quasars throughout the x-ray portion of the electromagnetic spectrum to help us better understand the universe.
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Earlier this month, the Hubble Space Telescope went from four working gyroscopes to only two fully-functional gyros. NASA still does not know why the spacecraft transitioned to safe mode. The Hubble Space Telescope will continue to be in safe mode until the space agency has figured out its next step of action. After the team successfully configures and analyses the options available to fix the gyroscope, it will resume the observatory to science observations which are most likely to begin by the weekend.
In safe mode, science experiments are suspended, primary hardware hands its tasks over to backup systems, and the satellite orients itself to get maximum sunlight on its solar panels.
Only the essential instruments it needs to survive are now working, but all of its scientific equipment are otherwise safe. NASA said last week it was still investigating the reason for this sudden shift.
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, which was launched in 1990, has also entered hibernation and halted science operations. A scare last week left the spacecraft in safe mode.
Grant Tremblay, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, tweeted Friday that the issue with Chandra had been characterised and that there was a "clear pathway to recovery".
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