Just a few days ago, NASA Hubble Space Telescope went into safe mode, due to a gyroscope problem, which left it in the impossibility of aiming its targets. Accordingly, Hubble’s backup gyro hasn’t activated, so the most famous space telescope stopped working as expected, as it started rotating at very high speeds. Thus, NASA engineers were not capable of keeping the telescope when its mission was to lock on a far-distant target.
NASA has since been able to reduce its rotation rates and fix its issues by implementing an age-old fix for malfunctioning electronics: turning it off and on again.
“Back to science! NASA Hubble is well on its way to normal science operations after a series of spacecraft stability tests commanded by our operations team. After evaluating its performance, the telescope is expected to return to science as usual,”
NASA Hubble Space Telescope Repaired By Turning Gyroscope Off and On Again
“In an attempt to correct the erroneously high rates produced by the backup gyro, the Hubble operations team executed a running restart of the gyro on Oct. 16th. This procedure turned the gyro off for one second and then restarted it before the wheel spun down. The intention was to clear any faults that may have occurred during startup on October 6th, after the gyro had been off for more than 7.5 years. However, the resulting data showed no improvement in the gyro’s performance,” NASA related, cited by Gizmodo.
“Following the Oct. 18th maneuvers, the team noticed a significant reduction in the high rates, allowing rates to be measured in low mode for brief periods of time. On Oct. 19th, the operations team commanded Hubble to perform additional maneuvers and gyro mode switches, which appear to have cleared the issue. Gyro rates now look normal in both high and low mode,” NASA engineers added.
With over seven years of experience in online journalism, Vadim is passionate about everything related to science and the environment. For us, he will thus cover climate, environment, and science news, among others.