Hubble Space Telescope taken offline after gyroscope failure ars_ab.settitle(1389895)

These papers have been referenced in more than 600,000 others - and NASA states that this total increases by roughly 150 every day. "The remaining three gyros available for use are technically enhanced and therefore expected to have significantly longer operational lives". Right now, only two of the three gyros are working properly: "Upon powering on the third enhanced gyro that had been held in reserve, analysis of spacecraft telemetry indicated that it was not performing at the level required for operations".

Built with multiple redundancies, Hubble had six new gyros installed during Servicing Mission-4 in 2009.

NASA has convened an anomaly review board to investigate the issue with the enhanced gyro.

The Space Telescope Science Institute's deputy mission head, Dr. Rachel Osten, said the first move "is to try to bring back the last gyro, which had been off, and is being problematic".

The telescope, which travels the Earth at about five miles per second - equivalent to driving from America's East to West Coast in just 10 minutes - faces out to space to take pictures of planets, stars and galaxies to help scientists learn about the solar system.

With only two working gyroscopes, Hubble will go down to single-gyro mode.

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If the team can't bring the malfunctioning gyroscopes back, it'll switch to operating with one or two gyroscopes, Osten said. "Which the Astro community wants desperately".

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

Though three gyroscopes are ideal, the telescope can be used on only one.

If the outcome indicates that the gyro is not usable, Hubble will resume science operations in an already defined "reduced-gyro" mode that uses only one gyro. The current problem, though, is a reminder that, with the retirement of the shuttle, NASA now lacks a means to fix or upgrade Hubble.

NASA was quick to offer reassurance: "Hubble's instruments still are fully operational and are expected to produce excellent science for years to come", public affairs officer Felicia Chou wrote in an update on the NASA website.

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