News Hubble telescope hit by mechanical failure

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By Paul Rincon
Science editor, BBC News website

The Hubble Space Telescope is operating with only essential functions after it lost one of the gyroscopes needed to point the spacecraft.
The observatory, described as one of the most important scientific instruments ever created, was placed in "safe mode" over the weekend, while scientists try to fix the problem.
Hubble had been operating with four of its six gyroscopes when one of them failed on Friday.
The telescope was launched in 1990.
After the gyro failure at the weekend, controllers tried to switch on a different one, but that was found to be malfunctioning. That leaves Hubble with only two fully functional gyros.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-45788412
 

MikeB

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Does anyone here know/surmise/guess/wish that the Crew Dragon or CST-100 Starliner could take a repair crew, tools and parts to service HST?
Or perform other similar functions that were formerly done by Space Shuttle?
 

IronRain

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Does anyone here know/surmise/guess/wish that the Crew Dragon or CST-100 Starliner could take a repair crew, tools and parts to service HST?
Or perform other similar functions that were formerly done by Space Shuttle?

I guess that's not possible. It was the limit for the shuttle, I don't think CST or CD will have the same amount of resources to get there.
 

Urwumpe

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I guess that's not possible. It was the limit for the shuttle, I don't think CST or CD will have the same amount of resources to get there.


I think the lack of a payload bay is the bigger issue there. Its pretty hard to work in space without a suitable stable work platform and a RMS.
 

jedidia

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So... what happens to astronomy if we lose it? I know there's a variety of capable telescopes up there now, but nothing coming close to Hubbles optical abilities. What would astronomy look like without it?
 

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Tis' a shame that we spend hundreds of billions (annually!) on war and killing, yet couldn't afford to develop a replacement for Hubble. Or repair it. JWST is a joke, and can't even get off the ground. No one wants to take the risk and have their name attached to what could possibly the biggest failure of all time.

I keep hearing that Hubble has a docking ring attached to it. Well, couldn't we take a couple billion and develop and launch a gyro-assist package? Instead of a retro-rocket to de-orbit the 'scope, which is the next step. Something like a small box of gyros that would attach to the ring and take over the functionality of the failed units. Much like how you use a Mophie or auxiliary battery pack on your phone when the battery starts losing capacity.

It could be either automated or manual docking. Or perhaps be done by a crew. All that need be done is develop the box - which should be no harder than any other medium-sized satellite - and attach it with no more than 5 or so screw clamps.
 

MaverickSawyer

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Tis' a shame that we spend hundreds of billions (annually!) on war and killing, yet couldn't afford to develop a replacement for Hubble. Or repair it. JWST is a joke, and can't even get off the ground. No one wants to take the risk and have their name attached to what could possibly the biggest failure of all time.

I keep hearing that Hubble has a docking ring attached to it. Well, couldn't we take a couple billion and develop and launch a gyro-assist package? Instead of a retro-rocket to de-orbit the 'scope, which is the next step. Something like a small box of gyros that would attach to the ring and take over the functionality of the failed units. Much like how you use a Mophie or auxiliary battery pack on your phone when the battery starts losing capacity.

It could be either automated or manual docking. Or perhaps be done by a crew. All that need be done is develop the box - which should be no harder than any other medium-sized satellite - and attach it with no more than 5 or so screw clamps.

But that would make sense! :rofl:

No, NASA wouldn't be able to get that done in a timely manner and at reasonable cost if their lives depended on it. :dry:
 

Keatah

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I wouldn't mind a couple 2 or 3 years intermission while we get another telescope up there. But there are no plans to do so.

I'm not counting on JWST to launch on schedule, they will find yet another reason to delay. Nor do I care much, when launched it will be flying with 10-20 year old instruments that have been tested, heated, cooled, vibrated, and have had some of their lifespan consumed by ground operations.

JWST is a good political job shelter though. And I would hope that lessons learned with it would be applied to future projects but "memory" and knowledge transfer aren't up to snuff. Lessons will be lost instead of learned.
 

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And now another Great Observatory far beyond it's prime years have joined in: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/chandra-enters-safe-mode-investigation-underway


Is any new x-ray space telescope planned? AFAIR, XMM-Newton will end its mission this year, unless it gets a sudden extension. Its already the longest space mission for ESA, with over 6800 days.

---------- Post added at 21:38 ---------- Previous post was at 20:20 ----------

Looks like the gyroscope is fine except its measurements: It measures bigger rates than it should. Does somebody know if it is using magnetic pickups like the Shuttle RGAs did?
 

DaveS

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Latest on HST:

[ame="https://twitter.com/NASA/status/1050888347110006784"]NASA on Twitter: "We're continuing to work toward resuming science operations of @NASAHubble after the telescope entered safe mode due to a failed gyroscope a week ago. An anomaly review board was formed to identify the cause of this behavior and determine solutions. More: https://t.co/WPwCGVuChJ… https://t.co/c9up4AUBAA"[/ame]
 

mahdavi3d

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Is any new x-ray space telescope planned? AFAIR, XMM-Newton will end its mission this year, unless it gets a sudden extension. Its already the longest space mission for ESA, with over 6800 days.

Things didn't go so well for x-ray space observatories either! JAXA "Hitomi" (ASTRO-H) suffered a fatal anomaly two years ago, soon after first observations were made! The plan is to build a new one called X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM). NASA page & Wikipedia page for referring:
https://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xrism/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-Ray_Imaging_and_Spectroscopy_Mission
 

Urwumpe

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Things didn't go so well for x-ray space observatories either! JAXA "Hitomi" (ASTRO-H) suffered a fatal anomaly two years ago, soon after first observations were made! The plan is to build a new one called X-Ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM). NASA page & Wikipedia page for referring:
https://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xrism/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-Ray_Imaging_and_Spectroscopy_Mission


Yeah, and ESA is preparing a successor for XMM-Newton already. But there will be a HUGE gap, it will launch in 2031.



http://sci.esa.int/athena/59896-mission-summary/
 

MaverickSawyer

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Looks like the attempt to revive a "balky" (their wording, not mine) gyro they shut down seven years ago has been successful. A few more tests are scheduled, but Hubble is expected to be back in action within a few weeks.
 

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So, Hubble does a Rhumba and gets its gyro back!

N.
 
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