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09 October 2018, 06:30 | Justin Tyler
"The gyro that failed had been exhibiting end-of-life behavior for approximately a year, and its failure was not unexpected; two other gyros of the same type had already failed".
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. These six gyroscopes were replaced during a 2009 fix mission to the telescope.
If the team can't bring the malfunctioning gyroscopes back, it'll switch to operating with one or two gyroscopes, Osten said. The Hubble Space Telescope has been sidelined by a pointing system failure.
Scientists are now performing analyses and tests to determine what options are available to recover the gyro to operational performance.
Now one of the remaining three isn't working as expected, leaving Hubble with just two working gyros and it needs at least three for optimal operations. But it can continue to provide observations with just one functioning gyroscope.
Till then science operations with Hubble have been suspended.
"NASA is working to resume science operations of the Hubble Space Telescope after the spacecraft entered safe mode on Friday, October 5, shortly after 6:00 pm EDT, "the agency wrote". Unfortunately, that could take weeks to accomplish, which means the telescope will stay in safe mode until the team is able to troubleshoot the gyroscope.
Dr. Rachel Osten, the deputy head of the Hubble mission, said it had been a "very stressful weekend".
Goddard Space Flight Center and the Space Telescope Science Institute staff are now working out what can be done to "recover the gyro to operational performance", and an "Anomaly Review Board" has been put together to develop a recovery plan. "Which the Astro community wants desperately", Osten tweeted. NASA said that, while this option offers less sky coverage at any particular time, there is relatively limited impact on Hubble's overall scientific capabilities.
Launched into deep space in 1990, the large, long orbit telescope is packed with instruments like cameras, spectrographs and interferometers to clear up mysteries of the universe.
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