Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

NASA's Hubble completes first science operation after 3-week hiatus

NASA's Hubble Completes First Science Operation After 3 Week Hiatus Hubble resumes observations after gyro repaired
Cary Marshall | 31 October, 2018, 19:38

"Hubble successfully completed maneuvers to get on target for the first science observations, and the telescope collected its first science data since October 5". Immediately after, NASA put the spacecraft on safe mode as diagnostics were started.

Last week the operations team commanded Hubble to perform numerous maneuvers, or turns, and switched the gyro between different operational modes, which successfully cleared what was believed to be blockage between components inside the gyro that produced the excessively high rate values.

The device "returned to normal operations late Friday, Oct. 26, and completed its first science observations on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 2:10 AM EDT", NASA revealed in a weekend news release, adding that the telescope observed a galaxy with the catchy name of DSF2237B-1-IR.

This picture of the Hubble Space Telescope was taken by an astronaut just after space shuttle Atlantis captured the telescope with its robotic arm on May 13, 2009, to begin a mission to upgrade and fix the telescope.

In a ideal world, the James Webb Space Telescope would already be up and running, collecting data alongside the Hubble. However, it did not cause concern because the spacecraft is equipped with six gyros, three of which are meant to be in storage for situations like this.

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Two gyros of the same type had already failed. Mission team members worked to recruit a backup gyroscope but had trouble doing so, because the gyro returned anomalous readings - specifically, it measured rotation rates that were higher than the actual ones. Controllers also reactivated Hubble's instruments.

A gyro is important to the operations of the space observatory.

The spacecraft entered safe mode on October 5, remaining in a stable configuration for three weeks; HST returned to normal operations late on Friday.

Hubble with three gyroscopes will be able to function at full pace, notes the report. Spacewalking shuttle astronauts replaced all six in 2009.

On Thursday, the operations team conducted further maneuvers to collect gyro calibration data. Chandra is back up working again and scanning the skies. But Chandra bounced back last Sunday (Oct. 21), after its handlers established a new gyroscope configuration.

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