Hubble Space Telescope in 'safe mode' after technical snag
Hubble Space Telescope in 'safe mode' after technical snag
There’s something wrong with the Hubble Space Telescope
Mike Wehner @MikeWehner
11 October, 2018, 09:33
Its successor, the 6.5-metre James Webb Space Telescope, will not launch until 2021 at the earliest. Despite that there were of course some "excitable" headlines that read nearly as though all is lost.
"The first step is to try to bring back the last gyro, which had been off, and is being problematic", Osten said on Twitter.
The following is a statement from NASA that offers further insight. "Everybody said OK, no big surprise, we've been expecting that for a year, let's turn on the gyro that was off at the time to get back onto science operations". 5 after one of three gyros actively being used to orient the spacecraft malfunctioned.
The telescope was put in a safe mode for self-protection purposes, so it only performs its absolutely necessary functions, while NASA scientists are trying to solve the problem, as the BBC broadcasts and relays the Athenian News agency.
Hubble is now down to two working gyroscopes and needs at least three for optimal operations but it can continue to provide observations with just one functioning gyroscope.
NASA became aware of the issue last Friday when a gyro, already displaying "end of life" behavior, went out of action.
Three space shuttle missions in 1997, 1999, and 2002 repaired the gyroscopes and added new instruments including a near-infrared spectrometer and a wide-field camera. Since Hubble's official start in 1977, thousands of people from the United States and Europe have supported the mission through building and testing hardware and software, operating the vehicle, and performing science operations. Two of Hubble's other gyros of the same type have already failed. As a result, Hubble is in so-called safe mode with non-essential systems turned off. The remaining three available for use are technically enhanced, and, therefore, are expected to have significantly longer operational lives. An Anomaly Review Board made up of experts in the field will also convene to investigate and figure out a recovery plan. The telescope only needs three gyros for it to work properly, while the other three are held in reserve in case of failure.
NASA's preference, the post said, is to return Hubble to service in its standard three-gyro configuration. But Hubble will still be able to do some useful science, and dropping down to one gyro instead of two effectively doubles its lifespan.
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