ann1814 — Announcement
Hubble Space Telescope returns to science operations
28 October 2018
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope returned to normal operations late Friday, 26 October, and completed its first science observations on Saturday, 27 October. The observations were of the distant, star-forming galaxy DSF2237B-1-IR and were taken in infrared wavelengths with the Wide Field Camera 3. The return to conducting science comes after successfully recovering a backup gyroscope that had replaced a failed one three weeks earlier.
One of Hubble’s gyroscope failed on 5 October, and the spacecraft’s operations team activated a backup gyroscope the next day. However, the backup incorrectly returned rotation rates that were far in excess of the actual rates. Last week the operations team commanded Hubble to perform numerous maneuvers and switched the gyroscope between different operational modes, which successfully cleared what was believed to be blockage between components inside the gyroscope that produced the excessively high rate values. Next, the team monitored and tested the gyroscope with additional maneuvers to make sure that the gyroscope was stable. The team then installed additional safeguards on the spacecraft in case the excessive rate values return, although this is not anticipated.
On Thursday, the operations team conducted further maneuvers to collect gyroscope calibration data. On Friday, Hubble performed activities similar to science observations, including rotating to point at different sky locations, and locking on to test targets. The team completed all of these activities without issue.
Late Friday, the team began the process to restore the scientific instruments to standard operating status. Hubble successfully completed maneuvers to get on target for the first science observations, and the telescope collected its first science data since 5 October. Hubble is now back in its normal science operations mode with three fully functional gyroscope. Originally required to last 15 years, Hubble has now been at the forefront of scientific discovery for more than 28 years. The team expects the telescope will continue to yield amazing discoveries well into the next decade, enabling it to work alongside the upcoming NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope.
- Hubble in safe mode as gyroscope issues are diagnosed
- Update on the Hubble safe mode
- Hubble moves closer to normal science operations
Office of Communications
NASA Headquarters, Washington D.C.
ESA/Hubble, Public Information Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Cell: +49 176 62397500
About the Announcement