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NASA’s Hubble Pauses Science Due to Gyro Issue

The Hubble Space Telescope as seen from the space shuttle Atlantis (STS-125) in May 2009, during the fifth and final servicing of the orbiting observatory.

Updated April 30, 2024

Editor’s note: On April 30, 2024, NASA announced it restored the agency’s Hubble Space Telescope to science operations April 29. The spacecraft is in good health and once again operating using all three of its gyros. All of Hubble’s instruments are online, and the spacecraft has resumed taking science observations. 

Published April 26, 2024

NASA is working to resume science operations of the agency’s Hubble Space Telescope after it entered safe mode April 23 due to an ongoing gyroscope (gyro) issue. Hubble’s instruments are stable, and the telescope is in good health.

The telescope automatically entered safe mode when one of its three gyroscopes gave faulty readings. The gyros measure the telescope’s turn rates and are part of the system that determines which direction the telescope is pointed. While in safe mode, science operations are suspended, and the telescope waits for new directions from the ground.

This particular gyro caused Hubble to enter safe mode in November after returning similar faulty readings. The team is currently working to identify potential solutions. If necessary, the spacecraft can be re-configured to operate with only one gyro, with the other remaining gyro placed in reserve . The spacecraft had six new gyros installed during the fifth and final space shuttle servicing mission in 2009. To date, three of those gyros remain operational, including the gyro currently experiencing fluctuations. Hubble uses three gyros to maximize efficiency, but could continue to make science observations with only one gyro if required.

NASA anticipates Hubble will continue making groundbreaking discoveries, working with other observatories, such as the agency’s James Webb Space Telescope, throughout this decade and possibly into the next.

Launched in 1990, Hubble has been observing the universe for more than three decades and recently celebrated its 34th anniversary. Read more about some of Hubble’s greatest scientific discoveries and visit nasa.gov/hubble for updates.

Media Contact:

Claire Andreoli
NASA's Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbelt, MD



Last Updated
May 21, 2024
Andrea Gianopoulos
Goddard Space Flight Center
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