Gyro failure holds up Hubble; Plan B pending

Hubble Space Telescope
The Hubble Space Telescope gets its final close-up after a shuttle servicing mission in 2009. (NASA Photo)

The 28-year-old Hubble Space Telescope is temporarily out of service, due to the failure of one of its gyroscopic pointing devices, but scientists say they’re working on a Plan B.

Today NASA confirmed reports that Hubble scientists such as deputy mission head Rachel Osten were passing along over the weekend: One of the telescope’s three active gyros had failed on Oct. 5, which hampered the telescope’s ability to point at astronomical targets for long periods.

NASA said that Hubble’s instruments were still fully operational, and that mission managers were working to address the gyro issue.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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