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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Pauses Science Due to Gyro Issue
Hubble orbiting more than 300 miles above Earth as seen from the space shuttle. NASA NASA is working to resume science operations of the agency’s Hubble Space Telescope after it entered safe mode Nov. 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.
Hubble first went into safe mode Nov. 19. Although the operations team successfully recovered the spacecraft to resume observations the following day, the unstable gyro caused the observatory to suspend science operations once again Nov. 21. Following a successful recovery, Hubble entered safe mode again Nov. 23.
The team is now running tests to characterize the issue and develop solutions. If necessary, the spacecraft can be re-configured to operate with only one gyro. 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 33 years. Read more about some of Hubble’s greatest scientific discoveries.
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Hubble Space Telescope
Since its 1990 launch, the Hubble Space Telescope has changed our fundamental understanding of the universe.
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Webb is the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It studies every phase in the…
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By Space Force
The Department of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, in partnership with the United States Space Force and SpaceX, is making final preparations to launch the seventh mission of the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle. Due to launch delays and pad availability, USSF-52 will now launch on Dec. 10, 2023.
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Ham Radio in Space: Engaging with Students Worldwide for 40 Years
In May 2018, a student at Mill Springs Academy in Alpharetta, Georgia, Andrew Maichle, talked to NASA astronaut Scott Tingle on the International Space Station via amateur or ham radio. The experience profoundly affected Maichle, who went on to study electrical engineering at Clemson University in South Carolina.
“It was so cool to see in real time the utmost levels of what people in science are able to accomplish, and to talk to and interact with someone at that level,” Maichle recalls. “The space station is an incredible work of engineering and to interact with someone in space was just mind-boggling. I was extraordinarily honored and very lucky to have had the opportunity.”
40 Years of Contact
As of November 2023, students have been talking to astronauts in space for 40 years. Crew members on the space shuttle Columbia first used an amateur radio to communicate with people on Earth in 1983. That program, the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX), ended in 1999.
In October 2000, amateur radio equipment launched to the space station along with its first crew members, who deployed it on Nov. 13, 2000. ISS Ham Radio, also known as Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS), has operated continuously since then. Each year, the program hosts about a hundred contacts. It has now directly connected over 100 crew members with more than 250,000 participants from 49 U.S. states, 63 countries, and every continent. These experiences encourage interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and help inspire the next generation.
“The ham radio program represents an amazing opportunity to engage with kids all over the world,” said NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, who participated on each of his missions. “It provides the opportunity for educators and ham operators to encourage and inspire their students with STEM topics culminating in a real-time conversation with astronauts living and working on the space station.”
Before a scheduled contact, students study related topics. They have about nine minutes to ask questions, often discussing career choices and scientific activities aboard the orbiting laboratory.
NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren talks on the space station’s ham radio set. NASA Inspiration Beyond Education
These contacts go beyond inspiring students – sometimes they encourage entire communities. Students at Canterbury School in Fort Myers, Florida, spoke with crew members on Oct. 24, 2022. Just a few weeks earlier, Hurricane Ian displaced 30 percent of the school’s population.
“Before the hurricane, our had students spent months building their own satellite tracking antenna,” said Christiana Deeter, science department head at the school. “After the storm, so many people came forward to make sure that we had what we needed. It was a great opportunity for our kids to stop looking around and look up.”
The school spoke with NASA astronaut Josh Cassada. “He has kids of his own and was just as excited as our kids were,” said Deeter. “I asked him if he had a message for the families and he talked about coming together as a community and not giving up hope. Our school was on a high the rest of the year.”
Canterbury School student Isaac Deeter asks a question during the school’s ham radio contact while student Samantha Pezzi waits her turn. Canterbury School From an Astronaut’s Perspective
Ham radio also contributes to astronaut well-being. In addition to scheduled contacts, crew members often crank up the radio during free time to catch calls from around the world.
Lindgren spoke to amateur radio operators or “hams” on all seven continents. His favorite memory is connecting with eight-year-old Isabella Payne and her father Matthew Payne in the United Kingdom. “Hearing her young, accented voice cut through the static – I was very impressed to hear her calling the space station,” said Lindgren. “It made my day!”
Lindgren’s contact with Payne was on Aug. 2, 2022. On Aug.18, 2023, Payne’s school, St Peter-In-Thanet CE Primary, conducted a scheduled contact with NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli.
UK student Isabella Payne, who contacted NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren via ham radio, is shown on Lindgren’s device floating in the space station.NASA The program also fosters international cooperation. Crew members are trained by multi-national teams. Italian teams designed and built antennas, while German teams built repeater stations that improve ham contacts. Amateur radio even serves as an emergency backup communications network for the space station.
How Schools Can Get Involved
ARISS is a partnership between NASA, amateur radio organizations, and international space agencies. While there is no cost to a host location for the contact, there may be some equipment-related costs. Scheduling is subject to mission operations and may change, so hosts need to be flexible.
The astronaut and the ham radio operator, who is the technical point of contact on the ground, must be licensed. While students do not have to be licensed, many choose to obtain their license after the experience.
Information about applying is available at www.ariss.org or can be requested from firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Next 40 Years
“I hope the program continues for a long time,” said Maichle. “It is so important for kids trying to figure out what you want to accomplish in life. It is cool to have that memory that sticks with you. It inspires so many people.”
And as those involved celebrate 40 years of ham radio in space, some are dreaming even bigger.
“I would love for there to be a continued amateur radio presence in human spaceflight,” said Lindgren. “I expect we’ll have a radio on the space station for as long as it operates. Then can we put a ham radio station on the Moon? Now that would be cool.”
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By European Space Agency
Video: 00:03:39 Focus on Euclid with Guadalupe Cañas Herrera: “I’m exactly where I’ve always wanted to be.”
Guadalupe Cañas Herrera, an ESA Internal Research Fellow currently working for ESA’s Euclid mission at ESTEC, the Netherlands, describes in this interview her personal and professional trajectory.
Passionate about space since her early childhood, she has spent endless nights looking at the stars. Now, this theoretical physicist develops her activities within the Euclid Scientific Consortium to establish the quantity of dark matter and dark energy existing in the Universe.
Listen to Guadalupe for a vivid account from a vocational scientist and an ardent defender of scientific collaboration.
Space Team Europe is an ESA space community engagement initiative to gather European space actors under the same umbrella sharing values of leadership, autonomy, and responsibility.
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(Oct. 4, 2023) — The Roscosmos Progress 84 cargo craft is pictured docked to the International Space Station’s Poisk module.NASA NASA will provide live launch and docking coverage of the Roscosmos Progress 86 cargo spacecraft carrying about three tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the Expedition 70 crew aboard the International Space Station.
The unpiloted spacecraft is scheduled to launch at 4:25 a.m. EST on Friday, Dec. 1 (2:25 p.m. Baikonur time), on a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
NASA coverage will begin at 4 a.m. on the NASA+ streaming service via the web or the NASA app. Coverage also will air live on NASA Television, YouTube, and on the agency’s website. Learn how to stream NASA TV through a variety of platforms including social media.
The Progress spacecraft will be placed into a two-day, 34-orbit journey to the station, leading to an automatic docking to the Poisk module at 6:14 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 3. Coverage of rendezvous and docking will begin at 5:30 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
The spacecraft will remain at the orbiting laboratory for approximately six months, then undock for a destructive but safe re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere to dispose of trash loaded by the crew.
The International Space Station is a convergence of science, technology, and human innovation that enables research not possible on Earth. For more than 23 years, NASA has supported a continuous U.S. human presence aboard the orbiting laboratory, through which humans have learned to live and work in space for extended periods of time. The space station is a springboard for the development of commercial destinations in space and a low Earth orbit economy, as well as NASA’s next great leaps in exploration, including Artemis missions to the Moon and eventually Mars.
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Last Updated Nov 28, 2023 Related Terms
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