Do electric motors operate in a vacuum?

NASA’s iconic telescope had to be suspended unexpectedly due to a software glitch.


The Hubble telescope has operated for more than three decades in Earth orbit. Photo: NASA.

“At 4 a.m. EST (16:00 Hanoi time) on March 7, the Hubble Space Telescope went into safe mode due to an onboard software error. All other scientific systems are normal and stable. We are working to get the device back online soon,” NASA said in a statement on Twitter.

Hubble was launched into Earth orbit by the space shuttle Discovery in April 1990. The device’s initial visibility was relatively blurry, but this problem was fixed by astronauts in outer space in 1993. Since then, the telescope has produced excellent imaging efficiency and yielded a lot of groundbreaking discoveries.

Safety mode is activated on Hubble every time astronauts detect an anomaly that could threaten the life of the device. In the past, this iconic space telescope has had to be shut down several times but most cases are due to minor malfunctions.

In October 2018, Hubble also activated safety mode and suspended operations for three weeks to fix an issue with the gyroscope, the part used to guide and fix the telescope in orbit.

Hubble has been an important part of space exploration for three decades, exceeding its projected lifespan by 15 years, but NASA isn’t ready to say goodbye just yet. Astronomers want to see it operational for some time, at least until the James Webb successor is deployed, which is expected at the end of October.

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