The Hubble Space Telescope, launched by NASA, has been a popular observatory in space over the past few years, taking stunning pictures of newly forming galaxies and stars and beyond, making its contributions towards space science. However, when the gyroscope of the telescope stopped working, it had to be switched on to safety mode. The research team worked tirelessly for the past 3 weeks to get the gyros back on and was ultimately successful in doing so.
The Hubble is up and working again and it has already taken an amazing picture of a star forming a galaxy, almost 11000 billion light years away, in the constellation of Pegasus, using its powerful wide-angle lens, putting more importance of the prompt work of the research team towards its revival and its stunning utilities.
The effort behind the revival of the Hubble telescope was phenomenal and involved round the clock work by the scientists and mission operation managers, who put in long hours of work, off schedule, to ensure that it was back to normal in minimal time. Initially, on getting news of the gyroscope failure, the backup gyro was turned on. However, it was rotating at a speed of 450 degrees a day, in contrast to 1 degree a day of the Hubble. This huge discrepancy made its working impossible. The makeup of the Hubble is such that it has 6 gyroscopes but 3 work at any given point of time.
Two gyros had already failed, so getting this last one to work or to shift to a “one-gyro” mode was very important. An expert team was assigned to figure out the unusual behavior of the gyroscope. After a lot of thinking and permutation, it was diagnosed that the problem was due to some blockage. They reoriented the telescope by changing the direction of the ship and trying out different modes of operation and reloaded the software and practiced maneuvering and voila, the Hubble was back on track.
Meanwhile, a group of experts even figured out the working of the Hubble Telescope in a “one-gyro” mode, which was not required here but could be employed in the future or in any case of crisis.
The team effort was extremely seamless and applauded by the scientific community and it ensured that the Hubble telescope continues to give us amazing pictures and perspective of space and beyond.