Published: Fri, October 12, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Hubble Space Telescope taken offline after gyroscope failure ars_ab.settitle(1389895)

Hubble Space Telescope taken offline after gyroscope failure ars_ab.settitle(1389895)

Though three gyroscopes are ideal, the telescope can be used on only one. NASA's decision to retire its space shuttles in 2011 means that astronauts can not service the 28-year-old observatory as they once did. However, Hubble can operate in a limited capacity using a single gyroscope.

"The gyro lasted about six months longer than we thought it would", said Hubble deputy mission head Rachel Osten in a tweet.

The Hubble space telescope, which has been in orbit since 1990, is now out of action because of a gyroscope failure, the U.S. space agency said Monday. Until the problem has been fixed, the telescope has been put into 'safe mode, ' suspending its scientific experiments.

To date, the Hubble Space Telescope is considered to be one of the most influential instruments ever made to help scientists push the boundaries of their knowledge of the universe.

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Currently, staff at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and the Space Telescope Science Institute are trying to find out options to recover the dysfunctional gyro.

NASA, we have a problem: one of the Hubble Space Telescope's gyroscopes - devices which are needed to keep the telescope in the right direction during observations - is not working.

"Hubble's instruments still are fully operational and are expected to produce excellent science for years to come", NASA added.

Washington, Oct 9 NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has entered safe mode, following the failure of another gyroscope, but its science operations have been suspended, the United States space agency said. The safe mode is meant to keep the telescope "precisely pointed" for a long duration, the space agency explains, stating that experts are working on fixing the problem.

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We know that the unit has a total of six gyroscopes, because it was designed with multiple redundancy of all systems.

The gyro that failed had been exhibiting end-of-life behaviour for approximately a year and its failure was not unexpected.

One of the standard gyros failed, making all three of the standard variety unusable, according to the space agency. The telescope needs three working gyroscopes to "ensure optimal efficiency", mission team members have written, and the failure brings that number down to two (if the "problematic" one that had been off can't be brought back online).

These six gyroscopes were replaced during a 2009 fix mission to the telescope.

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Only two of those enhanced gyros are now running.

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