Hubble Space Telescope in "safe mode" after gyro failure

2006 by the European Space Agency shows one-half of the Hubble Space Telescope field of view with nine stars that are orbited by planets with periods of a few days. Planets so close to their stars with such short orbi

"NASA is working to resume science operations of the Hubble Space Telescope after the spacecraft entered safe mode on Friday, October 5, shortly after 6:00 pm EDT, "the agency wrote". "It just might be if we have to look at a particular region of the sky at a particular time Hubble may not be able to point there because of that extra restriction when we're in a reduced-gyro mode".

Last week, the Hubble telescope stood down from observing and put itself into "safe mode" after one of its gyroscopes, which keeps it aimed at objects of scientific interest in space, died.

But don't panic: while the telescope needs three gyroscopes for "optimal efficiency", it can operate with less, Space.com reported.

Scientists are now performing analyses and tests to determine what options are available to recover the gyro to operational performance.

Hubble could potentially function with just two or even a single active gyroscope, so the latest failure shouldn't be the end of the road for the telescope.

"The first step is to try to bring back the last gyro, which had been off, and is being problematic", Osten said on Twitter.

Hubble deputy mission head Rachel Osten, said, 'Very stressful weekend.

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Launched aboard the shuttle Discovery in April 1990, Hubble is one of the most scientifically productive spacecraft ever built, generating a steady stream of astronomical discoveries and iconic photos familiar to millions around the world.

Hubble's successor, James Webb, the large space American telescope after successive delays, will not be launched before 2021.

The 28-year-old telescope has had trouble with its gyroscopes before.

Hubble has six gyroscopes, all of which were replaced by spacewalking astronauts during a servicing mission in May 2009. An Anomaly Review Board, including experts from the Hubble team and industry familiar with the design and performance of this type of gyro, is being formed to investigate this issue and develop the recovery plan. According to NASA, the gyro that failed last week had been exhibiting end-of-life behavior for about a year, and its failure was not unexpected.

NASA didn't disclose an anticipated schedule for resolving the gyro issue and resuming operations, either with one or three gyros.

Though the space telescope remains in operation, the malfunction highlights the limited time Hubble has remaining. "Everybody said OK, no big surprise, we've been expecting that for a year, let's turn on the gyro that was off at the time to get back onto science operations".

Stunning space images taken from the Hubble telescope.

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