Gyroscope Malfunction Forces NASA To Put Hubble Into 'Safe Mode'

Gyroscope Malfunction Forces NASA To Put Hubble Into 'Safe Mode'

The Hubble Space Telescope is still in "safe mode" after one of its three gyroscopes (gyros) stopped functioning. Although the Hubble team is optimistic about solving the issue in case if NASA isn't able to find a way out, it will execute the single-gyro control for Hubble in order to preserve the life of the single remaining unit for future operations.

Built with multiple redundancies, Hubble had six new gyros installed during Servicing Mission-4 in 2009.

On November 13, 1999, Hubble was put into safe mode after the fourth of its six gyroscopes failed, leaving it without the three working gyros necessary to point precisely.An already planned preventative maintenance shuttle mission suddenly became more urgent. The Hubble Space Telescope also uses three gyroscopes at a time for "maximum efficiency", but it can also still make scientific observations with one.

The Hubble Space Telescope has been sidelined by a serious pointing problem. The gyro that failed had been exhibiting end-of-life behaviour for approximately a year, and its failure was not unexpected; two other gyros of the same type had already failed.

The remaining three gyroscopes available for use have been technically improved, and for this reason, they are expected to work relatively longer.

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After the recent mechanical failure, controllers have tried to switch to a different gyroscope, but that was found to be malfunctioning.

Dr. Rachel Osten, deputy mission head for the Hubble Space Telescope, tweeted, "Very stressful weekend". The 28-year-old Hubble Telescope has been key to NASA and independent research of space. The Anomaly Review Board is investigating the issue further and should have a decision soon.

"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 said in a statement on Monday. NASA is trying to resume the scientific activity of spacecraft kept on safe mode since October 5. In the meantime, two of the telescope's scientific instruments - the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph and the Advanced Camera for Surveys - stopped working due to power supply failures.Good as newSpace shuttle missions returned five times to Hubble over the space telescope's first 19 years to fix it.

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

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