After a short break from space observation, the NASA Hubble Space Telescope was officially rebuilt and operational, and the observatory captured a lovely view of the far-flowing galaxy.
On October 5, the Hubble Telescope went into "safe mode" protection when one of the gyros of preservation gains failed. After about three weeks, the mission team was able to repair a thick giraffe and get Hubble online. In the near future, the telescope is located on a star-forming galactic square, located some 11 billion light years from the Earth, in the constellation Pegasus.
According to the NASA statement, the new image taken on October 27th using the Wide Field Camera 3 was the first image taken after the telescope after it was put into service. However, Hubble's online return was not easy; it involved a whole team of engineers and experts who worked tirelessly to find a fix. [The Hubble Space Telescope’s Greatest Discoveries]
"This has been an incredible saga based on the efforts of the Hubble team's hero," said Jennifer Wiseman, Senior Project Researcher at NASA Hobbit Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland. "Thanks to this work, the Hubble Space Telescope is returning to full scientific ability, which will benefit the astronomical community and society in the coming years."
When the Hubble Operations Team members were informed that the telescope had stopped using scientific observations, they quickly tried to restore the unsuccessful gyro but unsuccessfully.
Instead, the team was able to activate a backup gyro in a spacecraft. However, this gyroscope soon reported an incredibly high rotational speed of 450 degrees per hour, when the actual speed of Hubble was less than 1 degree per hour. According to the statement, the team had not yet seen rates that are high on other gyros.
The Hubble Telescope has a total of six gyros, but at the same time, only three are commonly used to collect telescope orientation data. Since two of the telescope's six gyros were previously unsuccessful, it was the last backup gyroscope. This meant that the operations team had to understand how to use it, or use one of the possible "single gyro regimes" that would significantly limit Hubble's observations.
In 2011, the Hubble Control Center moved to automated operations, which means that people no longer controlled the telescope 24 hours a day. However, at a time when Hubble's work was offline, team members continually tracked the telescope's health and safety.
"The team was dragged together to work around the clock, which we have not done for years," said Hurdle chief of the Hubble Operation Djrdad Davids Haskins. "It was seamless for me, it shows the versatility of the team."
NASA also introduced an additional team of experts to find out how to prevent abnormal behavioral backups. After weeks of creative thinking, continuous testing and minor failures, the team concluded that there could be some kind of blocking. They tried to solve this problem by switching the gyro between different operating modes and rotating the spacecraft. As a result, the gyroscope gradually changed its rotation to a more normal level, according to a statement.
Following this success, the team uploaded a new telescope software and conducted a series of practical maneuvers to simulate real-world scientific observations. This ensured that the telescope was ready for operation, with three working gyros.
At the same time, other members of the team had approached Hubble to use only one gyro. Although these preparations are not needed right now, NASA officials said the telescope will inevitably switch to one gyroscope at some point, and now the teams are ready for it.
"Many members of the team personally donated to work on long-term changes and deviations to ensure the health and safety of the Observatory, while recognizing the road ahead, which was both safe and effective," said Pat Kruse, Hubble Project Leader.
"Giro's retrieval is not only important for the life expectancy of the observatory, but Hubble's highest efficiency is triple, and the mission's mission is to extend this historic productivity period," he said. "Hubble will continue to make striking discoveries when it's time to operate in one-way mode, but now it's not time to make a huge effort and mission because of the commitment of the team."