Hubble Space Telescope resumes science operations

NASA has been working hard to fix an issue with the Hubble Space Telescope for weeks now. The issue surfaced at the start of the month when a gyroscope failure put Hubble into safe mode. Scientists on the Hubble team switched to the backup gyro, but the backup had issues that cause the telescope to be unable to aim accurately at targets.

NASA said last week that Hubble was nearing normal operations; over the weekend NASA announced that normal operations had resumed. The telescope was returned to normal operations late Friday, October 26. It performed the first science operations since the gyroscope failure on Saturday, October 27.

Those observations were of a distant star-forming galaxy called DSF2237B-1 and were taken in infrared wavelengths using the Wide Field Camera 3 instrument. The science operations are the direct result of the recovering of the backup gyro, that recovery involved a series of twists and turns for the Hubble that was able to clear up issues with the backup gyro.

NASA also notes that the Hubble team has installed additional safeguards on the telescope in case the excessive rate values return. However, NASA doesn't anticipate excessive values returning. Hubble now has three fully functional gyros and continues to operate well past its original mission.

NASA intended Hubble's science mission to last 15-years, it has now been operating for more than 28-years. NASA expects operations to continue for the next decade working along with the James Webb Space Telescope.