Hubble Telescope Goes into Safe Mode

Discussion in '[H]ard|OCP Front Page News' started by AlphaAtlas, Oct 9, 2018 at 12:18 PM.

  1. AlphaAtlas

    AlphaAtlas Limp Gawd Staff Member

    Messages:
    498
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2018
    After another gyroscope failure, the Hubble Space Telescope went into a "safe mode" this weekend. Only 2 of the Hubble's 6 onboard gyroscopes are working now, and it needs at least 3 to function properly. While operators on the ground saw this kind of failure coming and planned for it, the lost gyros will limit the Hubble's future capabilities. The Hubble's successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, isn't expected to launch until 2021 at the earliest.


    On the question of switching to one gyro, she added: "The plan has always been to drop to 1-gyro mode when two remain. There isn't much difference between 2- and 1, and it buys lots of extra observing time. Which the Astro community wants desperately." Prof Nial Tanvir, from Leicester University, UK, told BBC News: "You can in principle, with relatively little impact, continue to observe with one gyro. It may place some limitations on which part of the sky you can look at at any one time, and take a little longer to move from one target to another." He explained: "In that sense, it's not a catastrophe. However, if it's indicating another component on the telescope has died now, it does lead you to believe that the clock is ticking away on the overall lifetime… it would be a very great shame."
     
  2. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    10,074
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2005
    She had a good run.

    Time to send up a new one on a Falcon Heavy. James Webb will have a much larger aperture but [if it ever launches] it will be observing a different part of the spectrum.
     
    trandoanhung1991 and jfreund like this.
  3. Lateralus

    Lateralus More [H]uman than Human

    Messages:
    13,564
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2004
    I wonder if they had to press F8?
     
    wyqtor, DTN107, Eshelmen and 6 others like this.
  4. umeng2002

    umeng2002 Gawd

    Messages:
    751
    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
  5. GotNoRice

    GotNoRice [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    10,426
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2001
    Enough with the melodrama. Hubble has NOT failed and can still observe, even with less than 3 Gyroscopes.

    Apparently they only need one Gyroscope to actually observe using Hubble. 3 is ideal, but there isn't much difference between using two and one, so once they are down to two they are going to shut one off as a spare. This might not be ideal but Hubble isn't going anywhere for a while.

    Also, seems that there is some hope still of getting the "malfunctioning" gyroscope to work again, not the failed one, but the replacement one they tried to activate that didn't work at first. So there is still some hope of going back to using 3 again.
     
  6. cyclone3d

    cyclone3d [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    12,480
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2004
    Why not send up a crew to replace the broken gyros?
     
    Vercinaigh, AceGoober and BloodyIron like this.
  7. GotNoRice

    GotNoRice [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    10,426
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2001
    Money?
     
  8. cdabc123

    cdabc123 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,083
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    How do 4/6 gyros fail? I never thought gyros were the most unreliable parts
     
    RogueTadhg and AceGoober like this.
  9. BloodyIron

    BloodyIron 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,824
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    The project has already become extremely cost effective, AFAIK it has already massively exceeded its anticipated lifespan. Next ISS trip could potentially include repair of it.

    I suspect it would be worth repairing instead of just scrapping. The most expensive part is already done, it's in orbit.

     
    Vercinaigh likes this.
  10. pendragon1

    pendragon1 [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    12,240
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2000
    Didnt they try turning it off and on again?
     
    Creepin_D, F.E.A.R. and Master_shake_ like this.
  11. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    10,074
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2005
    No. It launched on a Shuttle. To repair it we had to send up additional Shuttle missions... repeating the most expensive and dangerous part over and over again.

    The Shuttle repair missions were never cost effective. The idea made sense back in the early 80s when they expected to fly a Shuttle every two weeks. The Shuttle ended up costing 100x more than expected, took 6+ months minimum to prepare for flight, and weren't particularly safe to fly. It would have been cheaper to build a handful of Hubble-class telescopes and launch replacements on unmanned rockets as needed like the DoD does with their spy sats.

    At the moment we have relatively cheap reusable launchers from SpaceX, it makes even more sense just to build and launch a new series of disposable scopes.

    Depends on the kind of gyroscope. The gyros on Hubble have to be extremely precise and spin at nearly 20,000 RPM, they're not like the vibrating structure gyros you'd find in consumer electronics.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018 at 1:14 PM
  12. sirmonkey1985

    sirmonkey1985 [H]ard|DCer of the Month - July 2010

    Messages:
    20,503
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2008
    zero g and solar radiation does some fucked up things to hardware considering it's been up there for 28 years under constant use it's not surprising they've failed.
     
  13. toast0

    toast0 Gawd

    Messages:
    834
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    From https://www.spacetelescope.org/about/general/gyroscopes/ :
    "Each gyroscope contains a wheel spinning at 19,200 revolutions per minute inside a sealed cylinder. This cylinder is immersed in a thick, motor-oil-like fluid. Fine, hair-like wires, surrounded by this thick fluid, carry electricity to the motor. Oxygen-pressurized air, used to force the thick fluid into the float cavity that contains these wires, has corroded the wires and caused them to break. Pressurized nitrogen, used in the new gyroscopes, will eliminate the introduction of corrosive oxygen."

    In 2009, there was a servicing mission where they replaced all the gyroscopes; they're installed in pairs, two pairs were new, and the last pair was a refurbished unit because of difficulties with installing the other new pair they brought. I didn't see any indication of which units failed to see (everybody wants to know if they should buy refurbished gyroscopes!)
     
    Shadowed and John721 like this.
  14. cdabc123

    cdabc123 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,083
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    so a major design flaw. I also dont know if they just simplified their response but its pretty easy to obtain nitrogen or pretty much any gass to solve this issue that seams like no one knew basic chemistry when making it. that or they designed with the estimated lifetime in mind and hand no intention of designing a part to exceed that.
     
  15. PantherBlitz

    PantherBlitz Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    331
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2011
    The ones that were there were the "new" nitrogen ones.
    Don't knock the design. Crazy-precise mechanical devices most certainly will fail at some time. Lasting for a decade in the most extreme environment of space is an achievement.
     
  16. Dekoth-E-

    Dekoth-E- [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    7,325
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2010
    Because the only platform capable of carrying the necessary payloads is mothballed.
     
  17. kju1

    kju1 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,659
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2002
    Hubble was launched in 1990, I fail to see how this is a major design flaw given that it has been in service for over 28 years with minimal servicing.
     
  18. Darunion

    Darunion Chin Poon Specialist

    Messages:
    3,041
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    I mean are you shocked there would be someone on a forum that would know how to build spacecraft better than those who actually do it? Kerbal has trained a lot of people.

    I wish anything I owned would last that long TBH.
     
  19. Master_shake_

    Master_shake_ Little Bitch

    Messages:
    7,508
    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2012
    Unplug it and plug it back in again
     
    LightsOut41 likes this.
  20. cdabc123

    cdabc123 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,083
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    once again this is under the assumption that "Oxygen-pressurized air, used to force the thick fluid into the float cavity that contains these wires, has corroded the wires and caused them to break" is the actual reason it has failed. if that is the cae dont you think the people who designed it should have a pretty decent idea of how all the parts interact with themselves both chemically and physically. aditionally it was stated this problem was resolved by filing them with nitrogen instead. thats not exactly a major change and why that wasnt concidered in 1990 but is a valid solution now shows that it may have been a design flaw.

    lets also not forget they had to make this thing a new lens because they badly messed up the first time they designed it (if I recall corectly the lens was ground exactly to the specifications that were provided but those specifications were incorrect)
     
  21. cdabc123

    cdabc123 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,083
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    my car is almost going on 28 years with very little service and some parts that have never been touched ;)
     
  22. serpretetsky

    serpretetsky [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,639
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
    Heh, I will agree with constant radiation being a problem to some hardware, but I have a hard time believing 0g reduces hardware reliability . Maybe you are thinking of humans? :p . Or are there specific difficulties with 0g I am not aware of?
     
  23. vegeta535

    vegeta535 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,296
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2013
    Make sure you leave it unplugged for 30 seconds before you plug it back in.
     
    Master_shake_ likes this.
  24. Etherton

    Etherton Will Bang for Poof

    Messages:
    7,539
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
  25. Chebsy

    Chebsy Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    463
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2013
    Looks like they will have to get the space shuttle out of retirement and get the gyro's fixed !!
     
  26. XenIneX

    XenIneX Gawd

    Messages:
    722
    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Temperature swings of 215 F.
    Micro-meteor and debris impacts.
    Ionizing radiation chewing up microchips.
    Induced electrical currents causing micro-pitting in metal bearings.
    Solvent outgassing changing material properties and redepositing chemicals in unexpected places.
     
  27. TwiceOver

    TwiceOver 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,372
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2003
    Hopefully "with networking".
     
    wyqtor and pendragon1 like this.
  28. pendragon1

    pendragon1 [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    12,240
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2000
    warranty expired last month ;)
     
    wolfofone, GoldenTiger and Etherton like this.
  29. Dead Parrot

    Dead Parrot [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,977
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2013
    The US currently has Zero manned flight capability. Don't know if the Russian craft has enough lift and space to get a crew plus parts to Hubble's orbit. If the Webb scope schedule slips again(likely based on past performance), it might be worth exploring the possibility of a Dragon or Orion mission to refit Hubble again. As long as you don't have to bring it back, you don't really need a shuttle to fix it. IIRC, Columbia was the only shuttle that could fit Hubble and when she burned up, we lost any ability of a soft recovery of Hubble.
     
  30. sirmonkey1985

    sirmonkey1985 [H]ard|DCer of the Month - July 2010

    Messages:
    20,503
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2008
    it doesn't, nor does it have the ability to capture the satellite to work on it, nothing currently does other than the ISS and there's no way i could see them ever trying to use the ISS for that. as long as it can continue to work with just 1 gyro being active they'll leave it that way.
     
  31. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    10,074
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2005
    Orion/Dragon don't have an integrated Canadarm or an airlock, so there's no way to capture the Hubble or perform the multiple EVA's necessary. I have to imagine that it would be cheaper just to launch a new telescope than to design a separate disposable auxiliary module and train a Dragon/Orion crew for servicing the Hubble again.

    The DoD has/had more than 10 Hubble-class spy satellites. They gifted 2 of the spares to NASA a few years back. It's cheaper and safer just to launch new scopes.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018 at 5:31 PM
  32. DeeFrag

    DeeFrag [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    5,413
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2005
    They just need to upload a few software gyros to Hubble, maybe some more RAM as well to help with the processing. It'll be good as new.
     
    defaultluser and GoldenTiger like this.
  33. EvilSpock

    EvilSpock Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    252
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2001
    As part of the last shuttle Hubble mission a special docking adapter was added to allow a future unmanned mission to attach a pusher motor to aid in the deorbit if the current orbit decay was a hazard. Hubble was never intended to be safely returned to Earth and its orbit can't be changed to match the ISS orbit. Hubble's orbit was near the maximum a shuttle could launch and catch up to if they made it to the mission flights MECO with all systems running.
    Where's Elon and his mad science to fix it when you need him.
     
  34. kju1

    kju1 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,659
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2002
    The mirror wasn't a design flaw it was an manufacturing and quality control error.

    As a matter of fact Hubble was designed with periodic maintenance in mind. The fact that it has had less than 5 maintenance visits in 28 years is simply an incredible feat of engineering. Saying otherwise simply denigrates those who worked on it.

    I am sure the engineer designed the part to the exact specifications NASA requested. They probably specified pressurized oxygen. I have no proof of that. But the repair mission specs say nothing of it being a mistake https://asd.gsfc.nasa.gov/archive/sm3a/overview.html. Hell it couldve been planned maintenance to replace those gyros. Someone with more time on their hands can go look up the original specs ;)
     
    GoldenTiger likes this.
  35. serpretetsky

    serpretetsky [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,639
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
    Those are all difficult things to design around! But what do they have to do with 0g? :)
     
  36. Eshelmen

    Eshelmen Really Short Girls Think Your Dick is Longer

    Messages:
    3,757
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2004
    So are we shit out of luck with seeing incoming asteroids and comets then or what?
     
  37. kju1

    kju1 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,659
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2002
    Not within its mission parameters. Hubble was primarily used for wide area shots of deep space objects (DSOs). Planets are much smaller in resolution on its cameras compared to a DSO. A DSO might take up 3,600 pixels where as Pluto might take...3.

    I believe they shot some images of planets on special occasions but I dont think it was used for planets on a regular basis.
     
    GoldenTiger, AlphaAtlas and Eshelmen like this.
  38. [21CW]killerofall

    [21CW]killerofall Aliens...

    Messages:
    2,695
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    I found a small screen capture of what the main computer menu is currently displaying:
    abortretryfail.jpg
     
    Seventyfive likes this.
  39. RealBeast

    RealBeast Gawd

    Messages:
    536
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    Hubble is so 90's, almost disco old. Time to move on. :(
     
  40. Verge

    Verge [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    5,883
    Joined:
    May 27, 2001
    ummm, you realize when it first launched, the whole thing was kinda junk. Had to fix it later.
     
Tags: