The NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, which shut down and entered into safe mode on October 10, has bounced back from the problem it suffered because of failure of one of its gyroscopes. The reason behind the observatory, which has been providing insightful data about the universe since the year 1999, entering into a safe, protective mode last week has been understood by the NASA’s Operations team who has successfully restored the spacecraft into its regular pointing mode, the space agency said on October 15.
It was due to an issue in one of the orientation-maintaining gyroscopes that the Chandra observatory went into the safe mode. This further resulted in the spacecraft gathering bad data worth 3 seconds and leading the onboard computer to measure incorrect momentum value of the observatory.
The expert team has finished plans of switching Chandra’s gyroscopes and then placing the gyroscope which suffered from the issue in reverse order. After the team successfully configures and analyses the options available to repair the gyroscope, it will resume the observatory to science observations which are most likely to begin by the weekend.
Chandra observatory, which is nineteen years old, is beyond its real 5-year lifetime design. In the year 2001, the space agency had extended Chandra’s lifetime to further ten years. It has made several significant contributions since 1999.
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, which was launched in 1990, has also entered hibernation and halted science operations. Besides, the space agency’s Kepler planet-hunting space telescope has also nearly run out of fuel. Till date, Kepler has helped astronomers gather around 70% information about known alien worlds.
NASA’s Mars rovers Curiosity, as well as Opportunity, have also faced problems in recent days. Notably, Chandra and Hubble observatories both are a part of the space agency’s Great Observatories Program, in which four space shuttles were launched in the 1990s.