Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Hubble Space Telescope Gyroscope Fails, All Observations On Hold

IN SPACE In this handout from the National Aeronautical Space Administration, the Hubble Space Telescope drifts through space in Image The Hubble Space Telescope is currently operating in safe mode
Elijah Vega | 09 October, 2018, 08:55

Hubble was built with six gyroscopes created to keep the telescope pointed the same way for long periods of time. As a result, Hubble is in so-called safe mode with non-essential systems turned off. Spacewalking shuttle astronauts replaced all six in 2009 during the final servicing mission.

These gyroscopes have a maximum lifetime and have been subject to replacement during previous Hubble fix missions. 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).

The gyroscopes allow the telescope, which has been in low Earth orbit since 1990, to sense rotation and stabilise itself.

"I think Hubble's in good hands right now, I really do", said Kenneth Sembach, director of the Space Telescope Science Institute, which operates Hubble.

"Built with multiple redundancies, Hubble had six new gyros installed during Servicing Mission-4 in 2009".

"It's not a hard decision, @astrogrant: the plan has always been to drop to 1-gyro mode when two remain". Thus, each problem brings the telescope, one of the most famous and productive observatories in the history of astronomy, one step closer to its eventual end.

The troublesome gyroscope leaves two functioning ones, Space.com reports.

USA considers sanction waivers on countries reducing imports of Iranian oil
Iran says it has abided by the nuclear deal signed in 2015 with five major powers including the United States. These claims aim to satisfy the USA and express support for Washington's sanctions against Iran, he added.

Even with one gyro working, Hubble will still be able to take part in science, NASA confirmed. There isn't much difference between 2- and 1, and it buys lots of extra observing time.

Osten said the team knew the gyroscope issue was imminent, but she sounds confident about overcoming this latest obstacle to Hubble's continuing operation. "Which the Astro community wants desperately", Osten tweeted.

'The gyro lasted about six months longer than we thought it would (almost pulled the plug on it back in the spring).

Update for 12:50 p.m. PT Oct. 8: We've added NASA's statement on the gyro issue.

A Hubble image of NGC 6744, which has a prominent central region packed with old yellow stars.

The Hubble Space Telescope is in an uncomfortable predicament.

It is now in its third decade of operation and its observations have provided data behind more than 15,000 peer-reviewed scientific publications, according to NASA. That way, Hubble has a longer total lifespan.

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