24/7 Space News
NASA clears Hubble Space Telescope to go back to work after gyroscope issue
NASA clears Hubble Space Telescope to go back to work after gyroscope issue
by Mark Moran
Washington DC (UPI) Dec 7, 2023

NASA will put the Hubble Space Telescope back to work Friday, after a weeklong delay in its mission to investigate one of the spacecraft's steering devices, the agency announced Thursday.

"Hubble's instruments and the observatory, itself, remain stable and in good health," a release from NASA said.

Scientists were looking into the telescope's "gyroscope systems," which are used to turn the craft and point it in the right direction, and investigating why one of the gyros had become unstable, leaving the craft in safe mode.

"Gyros measure how fast Hubble is turning as it moves from one target (a star or a galaxy, for example) to another, and they help control the telescope's aim so Hubble remains fixed on a target as it's observing," NASA explains on its website.

The Hubble's gyroscopes are considered extremely stable and are sensitive to even the slightest movements.

NASA says Hubble has one of the most accurate pointing systems of any spacecraft in operation and can capture light from objects billions of light-years away (one light-year is 5.88 trillion miles). Those objects appear as specks a few pixels tall in the gyroscope's camera.

"Such observations require pinpoint accuracy and a fixed, steady gaze as Hubble speeds some 17,000 miles per hour (27,000 km/hour) around Earth," NASA says on the telescope's website.

"Hubble's pointing and control system is equivalent to keeping a laser shining on a dime over 200 miles away for however long Hubble takes a picture -- up to 24 hours. Any movement beyond that level of accuracy would make the image blurry or throw Hubble off the target.

NASA said Hubble is equipped with a three gyro system, but is capable of operating with one if it needed to.

"After analyzing the data, the team has determined science operations can resume under three-gyro control," NASA said. "Based on the performance observed during the tests, the team has decided to operate the gyros in a higher-precision mode during science observations. Hubble's instruments and the observatory, itself, remain stable and in good health."

An emergency gyroscope issue caused Hubble to enter "safe" mode on November 23rd when one of the gyro's sensors gave a false readout. When it's in safe mode, science operations are suspended, the gyroscopes become inactive and won't steer the Hubble, which then waits for new directions from the ground.

While remarkably stable, the Hubble's gyroscopes do fail over time due to wear and tear on metal wires called flax leads that are about the width of a human hair. They carry power into the gyroscope and data out of it and, over time, begin to corrode and weaken or even break.

The spacecraft had six new gyros installed during the fifth and final space shuttle servicing mission in 2009. As of now, three of those gyros remain operational, including the one that was unstable.

Related Links
Stellar Chemistry, The Universe And All Within It

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
STS-61, the First Hubble Servicing Mission
Kennedy Space Center FL (SPX) Dec 05, 2023
The discovery after its launch that the Hubble Space Telescope's primary mirror suffered from a flaw disappointed scientists who could not obtain the sharp images they had expected. But thanks to the Hubble's built-in feature of on-orbit servicing, NASA devised a plan to correct the telescope's optics during the first planned repair mission. The agency assigned one of its most experienced crews to undertake the complex tasks, naming Richard O. Covey, Kenneth D. Bowersox, Kathryn C. Thornton, Claude Nico ... read more

NASA Stennis Achieves Major Milestone for In-Flight Software Mission

Was going to space a good idea

Lost tomato found aboard International Space Station after eight months

Chandrayaan-3 Propulsion Module Successfully Transitions from Lunar to Earth Orbit

Professionals Satellite YPSat Ready for Electromagnetic Compatibility Testing

KAIST Partners with Rocket Lab for NeonSat-1 Launch

NASA identifies probable reason for OSIRIS-REx capsule parachute deployment issue

An incredible pace of SpaceX launch cadence continues with the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket

Mapping Mars: Deep Learning Could Help Identify Jezero Crater Landing Site

How Rocks Say Don't Touch: Sols 4032-4034

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now: Sols 4028-4029

On The Road Again: Sols 4030-4031

CAS Space expands into Guangdong with new rocket engine testing complex

China's Lunar Samples on Display in Macao to Inspire Future Explorers

China Manned Space Agency Delegation Highlights SARs' Role in Space Program

Wenchang Set to Become China's Premier Commercial Space Launch Hub by Next Year

Iridium's New GMDSS Academy to Bolster Safety Training for Maritime Professionals

Embry-Riddle's Innovative Mission Control Lab prepares students for booming space sector

Ovzon and SSC close to sealing satellite communication contract worth $10M

A major boost for space skills and research in North East England

Rogue Space Systems lands inaugural on-orbit service contract

NASA Laser Reflecting Instruments to Help Pinpoint Earth Measurements

Magnetization by laser pulse

CityU develops universal metasurface antenna, advancing 6G communications

Ariel moves from drawing board to construction phase

Digging Deeper to Find Life on Ocean Worlds

Researchers Develop Advanced Algorithm Pandora for Exomoon Hunt

Shedding light on the synthesis of sugars before the origin of life

Unwrapping Uranus and its icy moon secrets

Juice burns hard towards first-ever Earth-Moon flyby

Fall into an ice giant's atmosphere

Juno finds Jupiter's winds penetrate in cylindrical layers

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2023 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news 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. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. 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. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.