NASA Team Say Chandra Operations Resume After Cause of Safe Mode Identified

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It was October 10, when the Chandra X-ray observatory acquired the safe mode at around 10:55 AM of ET time zone.

"The team has completed plans to switch gyroscopes and place the gyroscope that experienced the glitch in reserve", NASA officials wrote in a statement today.

While in Safe Mode, Chandra's instruments move into a safe configuration, where important hardware is protected, the spacecraft orients so that its solar panels get the optimal amount of sunlight, and the craft's mirrors point away from the sun.

According to NASA, once the spacecraft's series of pre-tested software patches are configured, the team will return Chandra to its actual science operations which are expected start by the end of this week. The cause of the safe mode transition (possibly involving a gyroscope) is under investigation, and we will post more information when it becomes available.

The space telescope "Chandra" has shut down just a few days after the Hubble was broken onboard gyroscopes.

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A gyroscope is a device used for measuring or maintaining orientation in navigation systems.

The space agency hasn't announced why Chandra entered Safe Mode, but all systems aboard the craft functioned successfully in the transition and all of Chandra's instruments are safe and unharmed.

Chandra is 19 years old, which is well beyond the original design lifetime of five years. In the year 2001, the space agency had extended Chandra's lifetime to further ten years. "It is now well into its extended mission and is expected to continue carrying out forefront science for many years to come".

Currently, scientists are performing analyses and tests to make it out what options were available to enable the gyro to operational performance.

Hubble's operations team is still diagnosing the problem, and the telescope is still in safe mode. Notably, Chandra and Hubble observatories both are a part of the space agency's Great Observatories Program, in which four space shuttles were launched in the 1990s.

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