After Hubble, NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory space telescope enters safe mode
Washington, Oct 15: Days after the Hubble Space Telescope entered safe mode following a component failure, another NASA space telescope has shut down and halted science observations.
NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory enters safe mode:
NASA said on Friday that Chandra's automatically went into so-called safe mode Wednesday, possibly because of a gyroscope problem. Hubble went into hibernation last Friday due to a gyroscope failure.
What happens during the safe mode?
During the safe mode, the observatory is put into a basic configuration, the critical hardware is swapped to backup units, and the spacecraft points so that the solar panels get maximum sunlight.
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NASA's Hubble telescope too entered 'safe mode':
NASA's Hubble telescope also entered safe mode after one of the three gyroscopes (gyros) being used to point and steady the telescope failed. Both orbiting observatories are old and in well-extended missions: Hubble is 28, while Chandra is 19. Flight controllers are working to resume operations with both. NASA said it's coincidental both went "asleep" within a week of one another. An astronomer who works on Chandra, Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, tweeted Friday that "Chandra decided that if Hubble could have a little vacation, it wanted one, too."
NASA's Great Observatories series:
Launched by space shuttles in the 1990s, Hubble and Chandra are part of NASA's Great Observatories series. The others are the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, which was also launched in the 1990s but eventually failed and was destroyed, and the Spitzer Space Telescope, launched in 2003 and still working. Each was intended to observe the cosmos in different wavelengths.