First photo after waking the Hubble telescope

First photo after waking the Hubble telescope

In October, for three weeks, the Hubble Space Telescope could not peer into the Universe. On October 5, the orbital laboratory was forced to go into safe mode, as one of the gyroscopes failed. The telescope stopped all scientific observations, sent solar batteries to the star of the solar system and waited orders from Earth. A few hours later, the ground command activated the spare gyroscope, but it did not function properly, so we had to look for new options to get out of the predicament.

Engineers had to figure out how to make the replacement gyroscope work normally or switch to telescope operation with a single gyroscope. It took weeks and going beyond standard thinking to deal with the problem. There was a suspicion that the gyroscope encountered an obstacle affecting the readings. Trying to eliminate the blocking, the team switched the gyro many times between different modes of operation and rotated the spacecraft. Gradually, the rotational speed decreased to acceptable, and the team downloaded new protective programs.

October 27, Hubble received the first photo since the transition to safe mode. Observations have concentrated on galaxies with a stellar birth. They live in the constellation Pegasus at a distance of 11 billion light years. Scientists hope to use detailed observations to understand how the Universe was re-ionized between 150 million and 1 billion years after the Big Bang.

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