Hubble Space Telescope Malfunction Won't Last Long, NASA Says

Hubble Space Telescope Malfunction Won't Last Long, NASA Says

Hubble Space Telescope Malfunction Won't Last Long, NASA Says

NASA said on October 8, 2018, that the Hubble Space Telescope has been in "safe" mode - that is, not in an operational mode - since Friday, October 5, shortly after 6 p.m. EDT.

"The gyro that failed had been exhibiting end-of-life behavior for approximately a year, and its failure was not unexpected", the agency said in its statement.

The Hubble telescope has three pairs of two gyroscopes, with each pair consisting of a primary and back-up gyroscope. Astronomers are aiming to prolong Hubble's life, but losing another gyroscope makes life hard.

The Hubble space telescope, which has been in orbit since 1990, is now out of action because of a gyroscope failure, the United States space agency said Monday. "First step is to try to bring back the last gyro, which had been off, and is being problematic", Osten said on Twitter.

Most of the giant Hubble Space Telescope can be seen as it is suspended in space by Discovery's Remote Manipulator System (RMS) following the deployment of part of its solar panels and antennae.

"Don't worry, Hubble has many great years of science ahead", says Kenneth Sembach, director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, which operates Hubble.

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The device refused one of the gyros. Hubble's instruments are expected to produce excellent science for years to come, NASA said. There is a third gyro that might be able to work, but last time NASA tested it there were some issues. Engineers were forced to suspend the telescopes' scientific activities over the weekend after one of its gyroscope's failed. "The three remaining gyro is better in technical terms and therefore should have a longer service life", - noted in NASA.

Hubble is equipped with six gyroscopes to orient the telescope.

If it eventually comes to that, the plan would be to skip the two-gyro mode and go directly to single-gyro control to preserve the life of the remaining unit. If the outcome of this investigation results in recovery of the malfunctioning gyro, Hubble will resume science operations in its standard three-gyro configuration. "Which the Astro community wants desperately", Osten tweeted in response.

Although Hubble uses three gyros at a time for maximum efficiency, it can still continue to make scientific observations with just one, NASA said.

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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