Technical glitch hobbles Hubble Space Telescope

Hubble space telescope fails and goes into'safe mode

The gyroscopes have a habit of burning out, hence their replacement many years back, but this most recent failure means that the telescope only has two functioning gyroscopes remaining.

As supporting evidence, he said, there was a two-day gap in the data, something backed up by Icelandic astronomer Steinn Sigurdsson, who provided this link to its schedule.

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 p.m. EDT.

"Hubble's instruments still are fully operational and are expected to produce excellent science for years to come", NASA added.

"On Friday, the Hubble Space Telescope went into safe mode due to a failed gyro - used to keep the telescope precisely pointed for long periods", NASA explained in a tweet on the telescope's official page.

The remaining three are technically enhanced and therefore expected to have significantly longer operational lives.

There is, however, another problem. Experts at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and the Space Telescope Science Institute are analyzing the situation and conducting tests to find out whether the third gyro can be recovered.

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The space agency says that at least three gyros are required for "optimal operations".

Hubble is now down to two working gyroscopes and needs at least three for optimal operations but it can continue to provide observations with just one functioning gyroscope.

Hubble has made more than 1.3 million observations since its mission began in 1990 and helped publish more than 15,000 scientific papers. Hubble usually uses three gyros at a time for maximum efficiency, but can continue to make scientific observations with just one. As a result, Hubble remains in safe mode.

The Hubble Space Telescope - responsible for capturing some of the most powerful images of deep space - is in safe mode following a series of component failures.

Osten said the team knew the gyroscope issue was imminent, but she sounds confident about overcoming this latest obstacle to Hubble's continuing operation. "It just might be if we have to look at a particular region of the sky at a particular time Hubble may not be able to point there because of that extra restriction when we're in a reduced-gyro mode".

The Hubble telescope was launched on April 24, 1990, via the space shuttle Discovery from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

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