NASA Chandra telescope resurrected after glitch

Rodiano Bonacci
Ottobre 17, 2018

One possible reason identified last week was a glitch in a gyroscope that confused the machine and forced it to enter safe mode as a precaution to prevent any damage.

If the Hubble team can implement solutions from the ground to compensate for the problem, the space 'scope will return to three-gyro operations - if not, one of the gyros now in service will be parked and the telescope will be put into single-gyro mode. Together, the pair make up half of NASA's "Great Observatories" program. According to an official NASA statement, Chandra transitioned into safe mode in a manner consistent with "normal" or expected behavior.

While in Safe Mode, Chandra's instruments move into a safe configuration, where important hardware is protected, the spacecraft orients so that its solar panels get the optimal amount of sunlight, and the craft's mirrors point away from the sun.

NASA said Hubble would still be able to provide science "well into the 2020s". Chandra is 19 years old, which is well beyond the original design lifetime of five years, NASA said.

Just before 10 a.m. EDT on October 10, the telescope automatically entered a safe configuration, swapping critical hardware to back-up units and changing direction for optimal solar panel charging.

NASA's Chandra X-ray telescope - which observes galaxies from the Earth's orbit - is back in action after suffering a technical glitch and going into safe mode last week, the USA space agency said.

The space agency adds that Chandra "is expected to continue carrying out forefront science for many years to come".

Earlier this month, the Hubble Space Telescope went from four working gyroscopes to only two fully-functional gyros.

Till that time, science operations with Hubble have been suspended. Unfortunately, the backup gyro didn't operate successfully. This backup gyro is also unable to report Hubble's small movements. Astronomers have since started the spacecraft back up and are working to download its latest data before it runs out of power.

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