Thursday, 18 October, 2018

NASA desperately trying to rescue Hubble Space Telescope

NASA's Hubble Telescope is in Danger After Gyroscope Fails Hubble Space Telescope sidelined by serious pointing failure
Theresa Hayes | 12 October, 2018, 00:49

Space Telescope in safe mode after gyroscope fails; science operations shut till tests finishedNASA's Hubble Space Telescope has entered safe mode, following the failure of another gyroscope, but its science operations have been suspended, the USA space agency said.

If the space agency fails to recover the third gyro, the Hubble Space Telescope will continue to be in operation. Six new gyros were installed during a servicing mission in 2009, three of which have now malfunctioned.

On November 13, 1999, Hubble was put into safe mode after the fourth of its six gyroscopes failed, leaving it without the three working gyros necessary to point precisely.An already planned preventative maintenance shuttle mission suddenly became more urgent. And even though Hubble needs three gyros at a time to operate at maximum efficiency, it can still observe its surroundings with just one working.

The telescope is a veteran, according to experts, will be able to work in space for not more than ten years, after which it will probably wind up on the "cemetery of the satellites" in the Pacific ocean.

For nearly a year, the gyro that failed had been exhibiting end-of-life behavior, and its failure was not unexpected; another two gyros of the same type had already failed. The remaining three available for use are technically enhanced, and, therefore, are expected to have significantly longer operational lives. The news started out as rumors on Twitter but the Hubble's deputy mission head at the Space Telescope Science Institute, Rachel Osten confirmed the authenticity of the tweets.

Broken one of the gyroscopes that keep the telescope in the right direction.

As of now, two of those enhanced gyros are in running condition.

Till then science operations with Hubble are suspended. The test analysis results indicate that gyro is not usable then it will resume the science operations in the reduced gyro mode as it will be using one gyro for this. As a result, Hubble remains in safe mode for now.

"While reduced-gyro mode offers less sky coverage at any particular time, there is relatively limited impact on the overall scientific capabilities", NASA added. If successful, Hubble will return to its regular scientific operations. But once more, astronomers are optimistic about Hubble's chances of recovery. "That could really have been the beginning of the end", Jenkner says.The team has known for more than a decade that someday Hubble will have to work with fewer than three gyroscopes.