NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has returned to normal operations and completed its first science observations after a three-week hiatus owing to a failed gyroscope.
The observations were of the distant, star-forming galaxy and were taken in infrared wavelengths with the Wide Field Camera 3 instrument.
The return to conducting science comes after successfully recovering a backup gyroscope, or gyro, that had replaced a failed gyro three weeks earlier, NASA said in a statement late on Sunday.
A gyro is a device that measures the speed at which the spacecraft is turning, which is necessary to help Hubble turn and lock on to new targets.
One of Hubble’s gyros failed on October 5, and the spacecraft’s operations team activated a backup gyro the next day.
However, the backup incorrectly returned rotation rates that were far in excess of the actual rates.
Hubble is now back in its normal science operations mode with three fully functional gyros.
Originally required to last 15 years, Hubble has now been at the forefront of scientific discovery for more than 28 years, said NASA.
“The team expects the telescope will continue to yield amazing discoveries well into the next decade, enabling it to work alongside the James Webb Space Telescope,” the space agency added.