NASA's Chandra Observatory back in action

NASA's Chandra Observatory back in action

After a gyroscope malfunction forced NASA to place the Hubble Space Telescope to safe mode, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory has also ceased operations. After the team successfully configures and analyses the options available to fix the gyroscope, it will resume the observatory to science observations which are most likely to begin by the weekend.

Now, to wrap up the week, NASA has announced that its Chandra X-Ray Observatory has also entered safe mode do to an unexplained issue that has yet to be revealed.

On October 10, Chandra entered safe mode, in which the observatory is put into a safe configuration, critical hardware is swapped to back-up units, the spacecraft points so that the solar panels get maximum sunlight, and the mirrors point away from the Sun. Analysis of available data indicates the transition to safe mode was normal behavior for such an event.

The observatory looks deep into space at objects such as black holes, galaxies, supernovas, high-temperature gases and quasars using the x-ray part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

"The vehicle entered safe mode".

As per the agency, the transition of Chandra in the safe mode was mainly caused because of issues that as well related with the gyroscope, the component that is responsible for pointing and stabilizing the telescope.

Only the essential instruments it needs to survive are now working, but all of its scientific equipment are otherwise safe.

NASA said Hubble would still be able to provide science "well into the 2020s".

Chandra has far outlasted its original five-year design lifetime; the scope has been observing the universe in high-energy X-ray light since 1999. While the telescope can function with two, or even one, gyro - the gyroscopes keep the telescope pointed in the same direction for long periods of time - Hubble functions best with at least three gyros. It's one of four observatories in NASA's Great Observatory program, which also includes the Hubble Space Telescope, the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory and the Spitzer Space Telescope. It is now well into its extended mission and is expected to continue carrying out forefront science for many years to come, it said.

But till it comes back to the performance level, science operations with Hubble have been suspended.



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