It Works For Everything: NASA Fixes Hubble Telescope By Turning it Off and Back On

Wednesday, 24 October 2018 - 12:07PM
Space
Astronomy
Wednesday, 24 October 2018 - 12:07PM
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After checking to make sure that it is plugged in and receiving power, one of the first steps in electronics troubleshooting is to turn the device off and on again. According to Engadget, that's basically how NASA was able to fix a gyroscope on the Hubble Space Telescope after a recent failure caused it to enter safe mode earlier this month, but the process was a little more involved than just flipping a physical switch.

"In an attempt to correct the erroneously high rates produced by the backup gyro, the Hubble operations team executed a running restart of the gyro on Oct. 16th," NASA wrote in a statement. "This procedure turned the gyro off for one second, and then restarted it before the wheel spun down. The intention was to clear any faults that may have occurred during startup on Oct. 6th, after the gyro had been off for more than 7.5 years. However, the resulting data showed no improvement in the gyro's performance." When that didn't work, the space agency started to move the spacecraft around while switching between gyro modes in an attempt to clear anything that may have been blocking it. "Following the Oct. 18th maneuvers, the team noticed a significant reduction in the high rates, allowing rates to be measured in low mode for brief periods of time. On Oct. 19th, the operations team commanded Hubble to perform additional maneuvers and gyro mode switches, which appear to have cleared the issue. Gyro rates now look normal in both high and low mode."

via GIPHY

By that explanation, it sounds the solution was to flip the switch while also jiggling the telescope a little bit. "The team saw no problems and continued to observe the gyro through the weekend to ensure that it remained stable," NASA said, adding that more tests and observations are needed to make sure that this was not just a temporary fix and that Hubble can get back to its normal science operations.

To be fair, Hubble is now 28.5 years old so it is understandable that there are some creaks and issues that need to be worked out. Maybe if it fails again someone can try taking the cartridge out and blowing on it?

via GIPHY

Science
NASA
Space
Astronomy
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