Washington, Oct 9 NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has entered safe mode, following the failure of another gyroscope, but its science operations have been suspended, the USA space agency said. Right now HST is in safe mode while we figure out what to do.
The telescope was put in a safe mode for self-protection purposes, so it only performs its absolutely necessary functions, while NASA scientists are trying to solve the problem, as the BBC broadcasts and relays the Athenian News agency.
Science operations with Hubble have been suspended while NASA investigates the anomaly. The remaining three available for use are technically enhanced, and, therefore, are expected to have significantly longer operational lives.
The telescope could work with as few as one or two gyroscopes, although that leaves little room for additional breakdowns.
Dr. Rachel Osten, deputy mission head for the Hubble Space Telescope, tweeted, "Very stressful weekend".
NASA's preference, the post said, is to return Hubble to service in its standard three-gyro configuration.
Named after astronomer Edwin P. Hubble, the foremost American astronomer of the 20th century, the sophisticated optical observatory was placed into orbit about 600 kilometers (370 miles) above Earth by the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery on April 25, 1990.
Astronomers have been hoping that Hubble will continue to operate long enough to cover the transition to NASA's next-generation James Webb Space Telescope. As per NASA the gyro that was unsuccessful last week had been manifesting end of life performance for a time span of a year and its collapse was not unanticipated.
Before Friday, Hubble had four working gyroscopes, also called "gyros". After this third and final older-type gyroscope failed, technicians have tried to bring the balky enhanced gyro back online.
NASA didn't disclose an anticipated schedule for resolving the gyro issue and resuming operations, either with one or three gyros. With only one gyro Hubble is restricted in what parts of the sky it can look, because it can only rotate in one direction at a time. That issue is keeping the spacecraft from resuming normal operations using three gyros.
The news came as a shock to the fans of the venerable space telescope, which has sent down jaw-dropping images and data to address cosmic conundrums ranging from planetary origins to the age of the universe. He added, "There are some things we're only going to be able to do with Hubble for the foreseeable future".