Hubble space telescope in ‘safe mode’ after technical snag, to begin science operations soon: NASA

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 09 October 2018, 02:02 PM
Hubble space telescope in ‘safe mode’ after technical snag, to begin science operations soon: NASA (PHOTO: Twitter)
Hubble space telescope in ‘safe mode’ after technical snag, to begin science operations soon: NASA (PHOTO: Twitter)

The Hubble Space Telescope, which suffered technical snag recently, is now on a ‘safe mode’ and looking to resume science operations, NASA said in a statement.

The NASA spacecraft – Hubble - entered the safe mode on October 5 after one of its gyroscopes—used to point and steady the probe-had failed to function.

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With Hubble in safe mode now, NASA is now working to restart operations. Hubble’s instruments are expected to produce excellent science for years to come, NASA said.

Facts about NASA’s Hubble and its safe mode?

  1. Safe mode puts Hubble into a stable configuration until ground control can correct the issue and return the mission to normal operation.
  2. Hubble spacecraft is built with multiple redundancies
  3. Hubble had six new gyros installed during Servicing Mission-4 in 2009.
  4. Hubble usually uses three gyros at a time for maximum efficiency, but can continue to make scientific observations with just one.
  5. The gyro that failed had been exhibiting end-of-life behaviour for approximately a year and its failure was not unexpected.
  6. Two other gyros of the same type had failed before.
  7. The remaining three gyros available for use are technically enhanced
  8. The three gyros are expected to have significantly longer operational lives.
  9. Two of the enhanced gyros are currently running.
  10. Upon powering on the third enhanced gyro that had been held in reserve, analysis of spacecraft telemetry indicated that it was not performing at the level required for operations. As a result, Hubble remains in safe mode.

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How to recover failed gyro

Currently, staff at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and the Space Telescope Science Institute are trying to find out options to recover the dysfunctional gyro.

Science operations with Hubble have been suspended while NASA investigates the anomaly.

An Anomaly Review Board of experts from the Hubble team and industry familiar with the design and performance of malfunctioning gyro, is being set up to build a recovery plan.

Impact on the overall scientific capabilities

In case of recovery: If the outcome of this investigation results in recovery of the malfunctioning gyro, Hubble will resume science operations in its standard three-gyro configuration.  

In case of failure: If the outcome indicates that the gyro is not usable, Hubble will resume science operations in an already defined reduced-gyro mode that uses only one gyro.

While reduced-gyro mode offers less sky coverage at any particular time, there is relatively limited impact on the overall scientific capabilities, NASA said in the statement.

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(With PTI inputs)

First Published: Tuesday, October 09, 2018 02:01 PM
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