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

The Hubble Telescope Is Facing Gyroscope Failure But It Can Be Fixed Says NASA

It is expected to return to its normal operations after ground control performs analyses and tests.

American Space Agency NASA said that after hitting the work of a gyroscope in the Hubble Space Telescope, it had been kept in safe mode.

"As a result, Hubble remains in safe mode".

Hubble has carried a total of six gyroscopes - three standard and three enhanced - since astronauts installed them during a spacewalk in 2009, typically using three at once. It has been seen that three gyros are used by the Hubble at a time to get the maximum efficiency.

Hubble team has been keeping an eye on every aspect of the observatory including the one older gyroscope unit which started acting weirdly indicating signs that it has reached its end of life and finally, it snapped on last Friday night leaving the Hubble with two newer units enabled and one newer unit disabled.

Despite a history of critical parts failing, the Hubble Space Telescope and its findings led to breakthroughs about black holes, supernovas, and even dark energy. On Friday, the telescope stood down from observing and put itself into "safe mode" after one of its gyroscopes, which keep it aimed at objects of scientific interest, died.

Dr. Rachel Osten, deputy mission head for the Hubble Space Telescope, tweeted, "Very stressful weekend".

For now, all the science operations for Hubble has been suspended.

But when the telescope's operators switched the instrument to running on all three enhanced gyroscopes, one wasn't working quite as well as it should have been. The three gyroscopes still in operation (including the backup that is now malfunctioning) are of a newer type, and are expected to live five times as long as the older ones, which last four to six years.The team expects Hubble to continue doing science well into the 2020s and to have years of overlap with its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, due to launch in 2021.

"While reduced-gyro mode offers less sky coverage at any particular time, there is relatively limited impact on the overall scientific capabilities", NASA added.

Launched in 1990, Hubble has had trouble with its gyroscopes before.

Astronomers have recently been talking about how they can extend Hubble's life so that it could continue to serve the astronomy community. In other words, it has been the most critical asset that helped scientists take a better look at the Universe that, thanks to Hubble, is a little less unknown today.

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