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Hubble in trouble as another gyroscope fails


Posted on Monday, 8 October, 2018 | Comment icon 9 comments

The Hubble Space Telescope is currently out of action. Image Credit: NASA / JSC
The iconic space telescope has now lost so many of its gyroscopes that it may never fully recover.
Well known for its breathtaking snaps of distant nebulae and other spectacular stellar phenomena, Hubble has contributed to a number of important scientific breakthroughs over the years and is perhaps the single most recognizable telescope in the history of astronomy.

Now though, the future of the orbiting platform could be in jeopardy following the failure of yet another one of the gyroscopes that Hubble relies on to accurately point at its astronomical targets.

The telescope has been placed in safe mode while engineers attempt to find a solution.

"It's true," said deputy mission head Dr Rachel Osten. "Very stressful weekend. Right now [the Hubble Space Telescope] is in safe mode while we figure out what to do."

The gyroscopes used by Hubble have a limited lifespan and even before this latest failure happened only three of its original six were still working - the minimum number needed for optimal operation.

While engineers are currently working to bring one of the failed gyroscopes back online, there is a possibility that Hubble will have to make do with just the two from now on.

If that happens, the iconic telescope will never be quite the same again.

Source: Sky News | Comments (9)

Tags: Hubble

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by seanjo on 8 October, 2018, 19:29
I take it they aren't going to attempt a repair?
Comment icon #2 Posted by L.A.T.1961 on 8 October, 2018, 20:14
When the last repair/upgrade mission was finished that was supposed to be it. It's in a higher orbit so needs something capable of operating at that distance and after shuttle was grounded there was nothing. James Webb was also due to be working and would have replaced Hubble. But James Webb is still sitting in a workshop and there is now the new Orion ship that could reach hubble, given the positive publicity for NASA after the last repair somebody might think it is worth another go?  Watch this space. ;-)
Comment icon #3 Posted by seanjo on 9 October, 2018, 15:36
I wonder if that US military, space shuttle-like, unmanned craft that stays in space for years, could be manned.
Comment icon #4 Posted by toast on 9 October, 2018, 16:07
No. It has no life support systems and the payload is only 250kgs.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Jon the frog on 11 October, 2018, 0:32
  I think it's more a low orbit craft, but an unmanned system could still bring something like a virtual robot helper and space parts ... but if it take more time than launching the replacement it's sad but a bit futile.
Comment icon #6 Posted by seanjo on 11 October, 2018, 14:34
Interesting stuff...      
Comment icon #7 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 14 October, 2018, 9:15
Update on the Hubble Space Telescope Safe Mode  
Comment icon #8 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 22 October, 2018, 22:08
Hubble Moving Closer to Normal Science Operations  
Comment icon #9 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 28 October, 2018, 10:38
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Returns to Science Operations  


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