Hubble in trouble as telescope ‘suffers failure and goes into safe mode’

James Marshall
October 9, 2018

The problem is that Hubble has only been operating with three of its gyroscopes up to now, the minimum needed for optimal functioning.

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. Unfortunately, that could take weeks to accomplish, which means the telescope will stay in safe mode until the team is able to troubleshoot the gyroscope.

To operate optimally, Hubble needs three operational gyroscopes.

NASA originally designed Hubble with six internal gyroscopes, but these components have a limited lifespan. Hubble can do good science with two gyroscopes, or even one, astrophysicist Grant Tremblay, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said via Twitter Sunday. NASA replaced all six of Hubble's gyroscopes in the final 2009 servicing mission. Another gyro failed. First step is try to bring back the last gyro, which had been off, and is being problematic'. After rumors of mission downtime began circulating on Twitter, Dr. Rachel Osten of the Hubble team confirmed that something is wrong with the telescope's gyroscopes, which it uses for orientation.

"Not really scary, we knew it was coming", she added.

'The gyro lasted about six months longer than we thought it would (almost pulled the plug on it back in the spring).

"We'll work through the issues and be back", she promised.

A Hubble image of NGC 6744, which has a prominent central region packed with old yellow stars.

'There isn't much difference between 2- and 1, and it buys lots of extra observing time. "Which the Astro community wants desperately".

Hubble's pseudo-successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, was supposed to already be up and running for years by this point, but Northrop Grumman's inability to do the job it's being paid billions of dollars to do has caused over a decade's worth of delays. That way, Hubble has a longer total lifespan.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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