Hubble Space Telescope returns to action after gyroscope glitch

By Mike Wall
October 30, 2018, 10:26:23 AM EDT

The Hubble Space Telescope is back.

The iconic scope resumed normal operations Friday (Oct. 26) after a three-week hiatus caused by issues with two orientation-maintaining gyroscopes, NASA officials announced in an update Saturday (Oct. 27).

Hubble's first bounce-back science work, which wrapped up early Saturday morning, involved infrared-light observations of the star-forming galaxy DSF2237B-1-IR with the Wide Field Camera 3 instrument, NASA officials added.

hubble

(NASA's Hubble Space Telescope in Earth orbit.Credit: NASA)

Hubble's troubles began Oct. 5, when a gyro failure sent the telescope into a protective safe mode. 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.

"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," NASA officials wrote in Saturday's update.

Further testing and monitoring showed that the gyro was acting normally, so the mission team brought Hubble back online.

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