NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory space telescope shuts down in orbit

Launched by space shuttles in the 1990s, Hubble and Chandra are part of NASA's Great Observatories series.

By: AP | Published: October 15, 2018 2:01:53 pm

NASA Chandra space telescope, Chandra X-ray observatory, NASA Great Observatories series, Hubble telescope, Chandra telescope safety mode, NASA space telescopes, outer space observations Less than a week after the Hubble Space Telescope went offline, the Chandra X-ray Observatory did the same thing. (Image Source: NASA)

Another NASA space telescope has shut down and halted science observations. Less than a week after the Hubble Space Telescope went offline, the Chandra X-ray Observatory did the same thing. NASA said on Friday that Chandra’s automatically went into so-called safe mode Wednesday, possibly because of a gyroscope problem. Hubble went into hibernation last Friday due to a gyroscope failure.

Both orbiting observatories are old and in well-extended missions: Hubble is 28, while Chandra is 19. Flight controllers are working to resume operations with both. NASA said it’s coincidental both went “asleep” within a week of one another. An astronomer who works on Chandra, Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, tweeted Friday that “Chandra decided that if Hubble could have a little vacation, it wanted one, too.”

Launched by space shuttles in the 1990s, Hubble and Chandra are part of NASA’s Great Observatories series. The others are the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, which was also launched in the 1990s but eventually failed and was destroyed, and the Spitzer Space Telescope, launched in 2003 and still working. Each was intended to observe the cosmos in different wavelengths.

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