Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Glitch has space telescope shut down
by Staff Writers
Greenbelt, Md. (UPI) Jan 21, 2013

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

NASA says its planet-hunting Kepler space telescope has been shut down to a precautionary "safe mode" due to problems with its orientation mechanism.

The action was taken Thursday when an unexpected rise in the amount of torque needed to turn one of the telescope's reaction wheels -- spinning devices used to hold observatory's position in space -- was detected, the space agency reported.

The Kepler telescope, launched in 2009, possesses four of the reaction wheels, three to control the spacecraft around three axes and one spare.

One failed last July, and the spare was put into operation. Kepler requires three functioning reaction wheels to position itself properly, meaning another failure could potentially end the $600 million mission, reported.

NASA said the rest period could return the suspect wheel to normal operation.

"Resting the wheels provides an opportunity to redistribute internal lubricant, potentially returning the friction to normal levels," Kepler scientists said.

The telescope's planet-hunting efforts have produced prolific results, spotting more than 2,700 potential planets around distant stars.


Related Links
Lands Beyond Beyond - extra solar planets - news and science
Life Beyond Earth

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Earth-size planets common in galaxy
Berkeley CA (SPX) Jan 11, 2013
An analysis of the first three years of data from NASA's Kepler mission, which already has discovered thousands of potential exoplanets, contains good news for those searching for habitable worlds outside our solar system. It shows that 17 percent of all sun-like stars have planets one to two times the diameter of Earth orbiting close to their host stars, according to a team of astronomers from ... read more

US, Europe team up for moon fly-by

Russia to Launch Lunar Mission in 2015

US, Europe team up for moon fly-by

Mission would drag asteroid to the moon

US scientists find evidence of ancient Martian lake

Martian Crater May Once Have Held Groundwater-Fed Lake

Choosing the right people to go to Mars

ChemCam follows the 'Yellowknife Road' to Martian wet area

An Astronaut's Guide

Mathematical breakthrough sets out rules for more effective teleportation

Orion Teamwork Pays Off

Unilever Buys 22 Flights On XCOR Lynx Suborbiter For AXE Campaign

China to launch 20 spacecrafts in 2013

Mr Xi in Space

China plans manned space launch in 2013: state media

China to launch manned spacecraft

ISS to get inflatable module

ESA workhorse to power NASA's Orion spacecraft

Competition Hopes To Fine Tune ISS Solar Array Shadowing

Embassy Gathers Elite Group of Space Policy Chiefs

Amazonas 3 in Kourou for Ariane 5 year-opening launch campaign

Suborbital Space Research and Education Conference Scheduled for June 2013

First Ariane 5 Launch For 2013 Ready With Two Birds

Africasat-1a to launch on first Ariane 5 launch in 2013

Glitch has space telescope shut down

Earth-size planets common in galaxy

NASA's Hubble Reveals Rogue Planetary Orbit For Fomalhaut B

NASA, ESA Telescopes Find Evidence for Asteroid Belt Around Vega

Computer breakthrough: Code of life becomes databank

Kim Dotcom apologises for Mega bugs

World's Most Complex 2D Laser Beamsteering Array Demonstrated

Record high radiation level found in fish: TEPCO

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement