Gyroscope Crisis puts beloved Hubble Space Telescope at risk – Can it survive on just one?

Washington, DC – The iconic Hubble Space Telescope is facing a critical shortage of gyroscopes, which could potentially hinder its ability to conduct meaningful scientific research in the near future. In a recent announcement, NASA revealed its plan to reduce the telescope’s operations to only one gyroscope, a move that will have some impact on its scientific capabilities.

Since its launch in 1990, the Hubble telescope has served as humanity’s window to the universe, providing unprecedented views of celestial objects in visible light. Despite undergoing multiple servicing missions over the years, the telescope has experienced issues with its gyroscopes, with three out of six failing over the past 15 years.

With only two fully functional gyroscopes left, NASA has decided to operate the telescope on a single gyroscope in order to prolong its operational lifespan. While this decision may result in a 12 percent loss of observation time and limitations on observing objects closer than Mars, NASA believes it can extend the telescope’s scientific operations until at least 2035.

The prospect of a commercial servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope was briefly considered in 2022, with billionaire Jared Isaacman proposing to fund a mission to re-boost the telescope’s altitude and potentially enhance its pointing system. However, NASA ultimately decided against pursuing this option, opting to let the telescope age naturally instead.

Despite the challenges ahead, NASA remains optimistic about the future of the Hubble telescope and its ability to continue making groundbreaking discoveries in conjunction with the James Webb Space Telescope. The combination of these two powerful instruments provides astronomers with unique insights into the mysteries of the universe.

As we look ahead to the next chapter in the Hubble telescope’s storied history, the scientific community eagerly anticipates the invaluable contributions it will continue to make to our understanding of the cosmos.