NASA’s Hubble Halts Science Because of a Gyro Problem

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope entered safe mode on April 23 owing to a continuing gyroscope (gyro) issue, although the telescope is now being worked on to resume science operations. The telescope is in excellent condition, and Hubble’s instruments are stable.

When one of the telescope’s three gyroscopes produced erroneous readings, the device automatically switched to safe mode. The mechanism that decides which direction the telescope is oriented includes the gyros, which measure the turn speeds of the instrument. When the telescope is in safe mode, science operations are halted as it waits for fresh instructions from Earth.

Hubble went into safe mode in November due to similar incorrect readings from this same gyro. Right now, the group is trying to figure out possible fixes. Should it become essential, the spaceship may be reconfigured to function with just one gyro, keeping the other one in reserve. In 2009, six new gyros were placed on the spaceship as part of the fifth and last space shuttle service mission. Three of the gyros are still in use today, one of which is the one that is presently exhibiting oscillations. In order to maximize efficiency, Hubble uses three gyros, but if necessary, it can still conduct scientific investigations with just one gyro.

NASA expects that over this decade and probably into the next, Hubble will continue to make ground-breaking discoveries while collaborating with other observatories, including the agency’s James Webb Space Telescope.

Hubble, which was launched in 1990, just celebrated its 34th anniversary and has been studying the universe for more than 30 years.

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