Hubble trouble: Deep space telescope in 'safe mode' after mechanical fail

Hubble Space Telescope sidelined by serious pointing failure

NASA says it's doing everything it can to keep Hubble alive as long as possible

After the failure of another gyroscope onboard, Nasa's Hubble Space Telescope has entered safe mode and due to this its science operations have been suspended, the U.S. space agency said. The three gyroscopes still in operation (including the backup that is now malfunctioning) are of a newer type, and are expected to live five times as long as the older ones, which last four to six years.The team expects Hubble to continue doing science well into the 2020s and to have years of overlap with its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, due to launch in 2021.

Since 2009, Hubble has installed six gyroscopes, three enhanced ones and three standards. 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 gyro that failed had been exhibiting end-of-life behaviour for approximately a year, and its failure was not unexpected; two other gyros of the same type had already failed.

The Hubble Space Telescope has been sidelined by a serious pointing problem. While the remaining three gyros are "technically enhanced" and should be more operationally durable than the those that have failed, just two of them are now running.

On October 5th, 2018, Hubble was operating with two enhanced gyroscopes and the lone older model with the third upgraded unit (powered down but ready to use, if needed). An Anomaly Review Board made up of experts in the field will also convene to investigate and figure out a recovery plan. Like cataracts, he says, it's "a sign of aging, but there's a very good remedy."While we wait for news of how Hubble is faring, here's a look back at some of its previous hiccups and fix missions.1990: The blurry mirrorOn June 27, 1990, three months after the space telescope launched, astronomers discovered an aberration in Hubble's primary mirror".

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So due to this, all the operations related to science have been suspended with Hubble telescope. While the mode offers less sky coverage at any particular time, there is a relatively limited impact on overall scientific capabilities.

Astronomers have recently been talking about how they can extend Hubble's life so that it could continue to serve the astronomy community.

Launched in 1990, Hubble is no stranger to issues.

Besides delivering jaw-dropping images of the universe around us, Hubble is responsible for a series of scientific discoveries, including what may be the first-known exomoon in orbit around a world outside our solar system.

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