The Chandra X-ray Observatory returns online after failure

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The Chandra X-ray Observatory of NASA will soon observe the cosmos again, the space agency said Monday. A scare last week left the spacecraft in safe mode. Chandra is a space observatory that observes extreme objects that emit X-rays, like black holes. The problems with Chandra emerged on October 10th, a few days after the iconic Hubble Space Telescope went into safe mode due to problems with its gyros, which help to point the spacecraft. Together, the couple constitute half of NASA's "Great Observatories" program.

Safe mode

While in safe mode, Chandra's instruments move into a secure configuration, where important hardware is protected, the spacecraft orients itself in such a way that solar panels get the optimal amount of sunlight and mirrors of the dot aircraft far from the sun. According to an official statement from NASA, Chandra has moved into provisional mode consistent with "normal" or expected behavior.

The space agency did not announce why Chandra entered the safe mode, but all the systems on board the ship worked successfully in the transition and all Chandra's instruments are safe and unharmed. NASA said last week that it was still investigating the reason for this sudden change.

"Chandra is 19 years old, which goes far beyond the duration of the original 5-year design," NASA said in the statement. "In 2001, NASA extended its life to 10. It is now in its long mission".

The space agency adds that Chandra "should continue to advance science at the forefront for many years to come".

Problems with Hubble

As this investigation continues, "NASA continues to work to resume the Hubble Space Telescope's scientific operations after the spacecraft entered safe mode due to a failed gyroscope (gyroscope) on Friday October 5," an official NASA statement said. .

At the beginning of this month, the Hubble Space Telescope moved from four working gyros to just two fully functioning gyros. While the telescope can work with two or even just a gyroscope: the gyroscopes hold the telescope pointed in the same direction for long periods of time – Hubble works best with at least three gyroscopes.

After this gyroscope failure, the Hubble operations team activated a reserve gyroscope. Unfortunately, the backup gyroscope did not work properly. Since then, the team has tested the backup gyro, which continues to report false and too high rotation rates. This reserve gyroscope is not able to report the small Hubble movements.

An anomaly review commission has been created to find the cause of these problems and try to resolve them.

The Kepler space telescope, hunting for planets, running out of fuel and near the end of its mission, started the month in safe mode. Since then, astronomers have started backing the spacecraft and are working to download the latest data before they are downloaded.

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