Breakdown in orbit: Hubble telescope switched to safe mode

The Hubble telescope has switched to safe mode due to problems with one of the gyroscopes. This is stated in a message published on the NASA website.

Hubble Space Telescope. Source: NASA

Hubble is equipped with six gyroscopes. They are used to orient the spacecraft in space and point the telescope. Problems with one of the gyroscopes began on November 19. Engineers managed to quickly resume its operation, but then it failed again, as a result of which Hubble was put into safe mode.

According to a message on the NASA website, the mission team is currently conducting tests to describe the problem and develop a solution to it. Hubble’s instruments are working stably, and the telescope is in good condition.

All gyroscopes on board Hubble were replaced during the last maintenance expedition carried out by the shuttle Atlantis in 2009. Unfortunately, no technique works forever. In the 14 years since then, three gyroscopes have failed.

If Hubble loses another gyroscope, it will reduce its efficiency since it is the three gyroscopes that provide the most accurate direction of the telescope. In theory, the spacecraft will be able to work even with a single gyroscope. But then only a limited area of the sky will be available for observation.

Earlier we talked about how Hubble photographed a couple of galactic clusters.

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