NASA's Hubble back with working gyroscope, returns to science operations soon

Some of Hubble's upcoming tests include moving to a target, locking on a target & precise pointing.

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope underwent a series of repairs throughout last week after issues it was facing with one of its gyroscopes.

A backup gyroscope onboard Hubble was put to work once the telescope sent itself into safe-mode after having detected the problem on 5 October.

The backup gyroscope, too, saw some unusual trouble and appeared to be rotating and pointing much faster than normal.

This issue is now fixed, allowing the telescope to rotate at expected speeds, NASA said in a statement today.

More tests await Hubble before it returns to using the gyroscope for science operations.

The Hubble Space Telescope. Image courtesy: NASA

The Hubble Space Telescope. Image courtesy: NASA

The Hubble operations team did a reboot of the gyroscope to ensure that any faults that may have occurred when it was booted up after 7.5 years on the 6 October will have cleared out.

However, the researchers didn’t see any improvement in the gyroscope’s working.

The operations team commanded Hubble to perform some maneuvers, turns and switches between difference gyroscope modes, which appears to have resolved the issue completely.

Now, Hubble awaits a series of tests to ensure that it can performance the gyroscope maneuvers on its own, and stably for routine science experiments. Some of these tests include moving to a target, locking on a target and precise pointing at targets.

Once it clears these tests, which NASA expects will be soon, the telescope will return to normal science operations.

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