Another space telescope shuts down – one week after Hubble

Less than a week after the Hubble Space Telescope went down due to a gyroscope problem, the NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory has also gone offline.

NASA issued a press release today saying that Chandra automatically went into “safe mode” on Wednesday, and it may also be due to a gyroscope problem.

As previously reported, the Hubble Space Telescope  went into hibernation last Friday due to a gyroscope failure.

Some perspective – both orbiting telescopes are old and in well-extended missions: Hubble is 28 years since launch, while Chandra was launched 19 years ago. Unfortunately, NASA no longer has shuttle capability, so they cannot be serviced in orbit.

From the NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory website:

At approximately 1355 GMT on October 10, 2018, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory entered Safe Mode, where the telescope’s instruments are put into a safe configuration, critical hardware is swapped to back-up units, the spacecraft points so that the solar panels get maximum sunlight, and the mirrors point away from the Sun. Analysis of available data indicates the transition to safe mode was nominal, i.e., consistent with normal behavior for such an event. All systems functioned as expected and the scientific instruments are safe. The cause of the Safe Mode transition is currently under investigation, and we will post more information when it becomes available.

Chandra is 19 years old, which is well beyond the original design lifetime of 5 years. In 2001, NASA extended its lifetime to 10 years. It is now well into its extended mission and it is expected to continue carrying out forefront science for many years to come.

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October 12, 2018 11:45 am

Hmmm, I am going to go all out conspiracy theory. Land based telescope goes down now orbiting telescopes…what are they trying to hide??
Lol j/k

John Endicott
Reply to  AKSurveyor
October 12, 2018 11:49 am

indeed. I’m not saying it’s aliens……. 😉

Reply to  John Endicott
October 12, 2018 12:43 pm

I, for one, welcome our Alien Overlords.

David S
Reply to  John Endicott
October 12, 2018 1:20 pm

We better have Fox Mulder investigate.

Reply to  John Endicott
October 14, 2018 9:58 am

If I were to point the finger of blame anywhere, it would be in the direction of Beijing. They’ve shown the capacity to knock out a satellite – in a stupidly crude way initially – but may have developed more subtle techniques since. Targeting outward-facing satellites would be an effective display of capability without damaging US economic or defence capacity, which would be an act of war.

More than likely just one (two) of them things though.

Bill Marsh(@dccowboy)
Reply to  AKSurveyor
October 12, 2018 11:51 am

Who? the ‘government or the alien invaders?

Greg Freitag
Reply to  Bill Marsh
October 12, 2018 12:16 pm

Who? the ‘government or the alien invaders?

Is there a difference?

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Bill Marsh
October 12, 2018 12:27 pm

The government of the alien invaders.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
October 12, 2018 1:33 pm

Ooh, that’s not a global of the alien invaders I hope! 🛸🌎🛸

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Pop Piasa
October 12, 2018 1:35 pm

Sorry, forgot to copy and paste the word government.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Pop Piasa
October 14, 2018 2:56 pm

Yes, you’d liked to say

Ooh, that’s not the global government of the alien invaders I hope! 🛸🌎🛸

Why didn’t say that.

Reply to  AKSurveyor
October 12, 2018 2:45 pm

Made in China?

Farmer Flindt
Reply to  jakee308
October 13, 2018 8:29 am

Naaaah….Chinese stuff lasts 366 days (or 367 if you bought it in a Leap Year).

John Endicott
October 12, 2018 11:52 am

Unfortunately, NASA no longer has shuttle capability, so they cannot be serviced in orbit.

Perhaps it’s time to redirect NASA’s funding back towards space. replace their climate change propaganda program(s) with a new Shuttle program.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  John Endicott
October 12, 2018 12:29 pm

We don’t need a new shuttle program. NASA should be contracting with private companies to fulfill its mission. Elon Musk has a working pagenger capsule and the Falcon 9 heavy lift vehicle. Both of which need more testing to be man rated, but both could be ready in a fairly short time frame.

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
October 12, 2018 1:25 pm

“Elon Musk has a working pagenger capsule and the Falcon 9 heavy lift vehicle.”

Musk has also been working on the Model 3.

How’s that going?

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Matthew W
October 12, 2018 1:41 pm

That shows he needs to focus on what is working and let the auto industry deal with EVs. His battery enterprises should be retained and expanded, though.

Dennis Bird
Reply to  Matthew W
October 12, 2018 1:47 pm

Best selling car in America currently.

Reply to  Dennis Bird
October 12, 2018 2:45 pm

Quite wrong.
It is the no.1 ‘electric car’, at the moment.

Reality: Not even in the top 20 of all vehicles:

LOL, if you leave out SUVs & trucks does it reach no. 5:

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Dennis Bird
October 12, 2018 3:58 pm

I am a rural retiree/mini farmer.
I have seen a few Chevy Volts and Nissan Leafs on the roads and parking lots, but I have never yet had a live Tesla encounter. On the other hand, there has recently been a plethora of GMC Sierras on the roads I travel.
Must be ’cause I don’t live coastal.

John Endicott
Reply to  Dennis Bird
October 16, 2018 9:33 am

To be fair Wally, your first link was for June, in which the tesla did not make the top 20 cars lists. In July it was #7
In August it was #5
and in September it was #4

(note that if you look at the YTD figure, Tesla comes in at #14 on the September chart and it comes in dead last in the YTD vs. LY column)

if you want to look at all vehicles (not just cars, which excludes trucks and SUVs), then it’s the top 30 of all vehicles chart you want. The Tesla clocks in at #13 for Sep and dead last for YTD of those 30)

So what does it all mean? well, for starters that it’s not the #1 seller (by unit) either among all vehicles or just among cars. But it’s numbers aren’t bad, which might account for the claim that it’s #1 by revenue. Slap a price tag much larger that the competition and manage to sell in the top 10 of cars would account for that. I guess when it comes to virtue signaling, price is no object.

John Endicott
Reply to  Dennis Bird
October 16, 2018 9:50 am

Ok, must have too many links, as that’s twice the post didn’t show up. Mods can you retrieve my post from cyber-limbo?

Short version, Wally, to be fair your first link is June, which the Tesla didn’t make the list. July it was #7, Aug it was #5 and Sep it was #4 on the car lists at the same site (I had links in my previous post to those three lists, you’ll just have to search the goodcarbadcar site to find them if the mods can’t retrieve my previous attempts). All vehicles (including trucks and SUVs) for September (the top 30 list at same site) has the Tesla at #13. sorting the above lists by YTD puts the Tesla much lower.

Bottom line, it’s not the number 1 seller (by unit) and only makes #1 in revenue for cars due to it extra-high price tag in comparison to the competition. Guess virtue signaling has no price limit.

John Endicott
Reply to  Dennis Bird
October 16, 2018 10:00 am

Best selling car in America currently

Dennis, not quite. Best selling car implies that it’s the car that sold the most units. Tesla sold the most units for electric cars only, so best selling electric car in America would be more accurate. It was the #7 selling (by unit) car in July, #5 in Aug, and #4 in September
(only gave the sept link as too many links sends my post to cyber-oblivion)

It, however, may be the best revenue generating car (gross) since it’s price-tag is so high compared to the price of the cars above it in the list. (I suspect it’s no where near #1 in net revenue generation, as the ICE cars are much cheaper to make).

A C Osborn
Reply to  Matthew W
October 12, 2018 3:29 pm

I doubt even his heavy lift vehicle would cut it for satellite repairs in space.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Matthew W
October 12, 2018 3:50 pm

The Falcon 9 test with the parallel booster returns was one of the more spectacular tech demos I have every seen.

BTW: Musk is not the only one. Bezos has a space project cooking, and player like Lockheed and Boeing are still around.

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
October 12, 2018 2:23 pm

Didn’t the soviets build something looking a lot like the NASA shuttle?

IIRC , it only flew once. Maybe they could dust it off .

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Ric Werme
October 12, 2018 4:04 pm

Ric, I can’t remember which one, but there is a documentary on youtube that includes those too.

Gary Mount(@garymount)
Reply to  Greg
October 12, 2018 4:56 pm

NASA sabotaged the USSR shuttle program by providing false information on how the outer heat tiles were glued on.

Reply to  Gary Mount
October 12, 2018 10:18 pm

‘Sabotaged’, or just mislead spies?

Reply to  Gary Mount
October 12, 2018 10:36 pm

NASA also managed t “mislead” themselves about how to glue on the tiles. But , yes, feeding false info to spies ( if that was the case ) would be a way to sabotage the Soviet effort.

ferd berple(@ferdberple)
Reply to  Greg
October 12, 2018 7:56 pm

Reminds me of a cartoon years ago in playboy. Two obvious Russians standing in front of a steam shovel with rockets and fins strapped on. The caption; Shuttle comrade. I said space shuttle.

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
October 14, 2018 1:32 am

When the Chandra failed Musk was reported as saying….
“There is a great disturbance in the Force. I have felt it. It was like a million batteries were charging and then were shorted out. I fear something terrible has happened. ”

Reply to  John Endicott
October 12, 2018 1:27 pm

“Unfortunately, NASA no longer has shuttle capability, so they cannot be serviced in orbit.”
That is truly embarrassing for America.

Reply to  Matthew W
October 12, 2018 2:30 pm

USA is expected to reach peak embarrassment within the next 50 years.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Greg
October 12, 2018 3:05 pm

My fear is that the USA will be renamed as a sector of the Global Socialist Republic within my lifetime, let alone 50 years. Embarrassment seems trivial to that.

Reply to  Pop Piasa
October 12, 2018 9:36 pm

How many socialist commissars can we kill first?

Ric Werme(@ricwerme)
Reply to  Matthew W
October 12, 2018 4:03 pm

Heck. The only country that sent people to the moon can’t reach the ISS in Low Earth Orbit without hitching a ride from the Russians.

Don’t mention that to Apollo era astronauts. I was surprised at the reaction Harrison Schmitt when I asked if they ever thought we would not have returned to the moon by now. Instead, today we can’t get our sorry butts out of the atmosphere.

Gary Mount(@garymount)
Reply to  Matthew W
October 12, 2018 5:34 pm

14 dead shuttle astronauts is not embarrassing?

Reply to  Gary Mount
October 12, 2018 10:30 pm

No. That’s sad.

Reply to  Gary Mount
October 13, 2018 12:14 pm

Russia came within a hair’s breadth of killing two last week.
What is it with you and your desire to always see the worst of the American space program?

John Tillman
Reply to  Gary Mount
October 13, 2018 1:00 pm

The USSR lost 78 people at Baikonur in one day, 24 October 1960, when a test of its R-16 ICBM, an improvement on the R-7 rocket used to launch Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin, failed catastrophically.

They lost seven or eight more on the same date in 1963 at Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakh SSR.

John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
October 13, 2018 1:04 pm

Also, we wouldn’t have lost Grissom, White and Chaffee in 1967 had the Soviets told the world about the fire which killed Bondarenko in 1961.

Reply to  Gary Mount
October 13, 2018 3:43 pm

No. It was tragic. But I wonder why anyone expects that putting your butt on top of two SRBs with over 2.5 million pounds of thrust attached to a tank with over a 1.5 million pounds of LOX and propellent is not an inherently dangerous proposition in the first place?

Reply to  RAH
October 13, 2018 6:43 pm

And yet we continue to do it.
The wonder is in the wonder.
Thank god.

Reply to  RAH
October 14, 2018 5:16 am

I would take the ride in a heart beat. But it just kills me that so many people really don’t seem to appreciate how complex and risky it all is. I guess some people never grow out of the phase of believing that certain people or things are infallible. It gives them comfort when they go to the doctor to believe that person can’t make mistakes and has all the answers.

Tom O
October 12, 2018 11:54 am

I have to wonder why Mr. Putin is doing this. I mean, really, today, when unexpected things happen, everyone all says it’s Putin and the Russians, but I wonder why, that’s all. And realistically, do I really have to say /sarc?

John Endicott
Reply to  Tom O
October 12, 2018 11:59 am

Mr Putin is only the go-to for Earth-based stories. Space-based ones and the go-to is usually along the lines of “I’m not saying it’s aliens, but it’s aliens” 🙂

Reply to  John Endicott
October 12, 2018 2:27 pm

“I have to wonder why Mr. Putin is doing this.”

Remember the Soviets cloned the shuttle. Maybe he wants to create a reason to get it flying again.

Once he has worked out who is paying the Ukrainian mole to drill holes in all the Soyuz kit 😉

Bryan A
Reply to  Tom O
October 12, 2018 12:21 pm

Definitely not Putin…but his Mini-Me Putini

Jim Masterson
October 12, 2018 11:58 am

It (Chandra) is now well into its extended mission and it is expected to continue carrying out forefront science for many years to come.

Then again, maybe it won’t.


John F Barnes
October 12, 2018 12:03 pm

I was working on space robotic system design in the ’80s, and had meetings at JSC with people who’d designed the Hubble for “manned” servicing. Had they only seriously considered designing it also for robotic system servicing, we could launch a servicing vehicle and fix the damned thing without a Shuttle.

October 12, 2018 12:10 pm

A couple of days ago a Russian rocket with two astronauts on board had rocket trouble during launch and the crew module had to make an emergency return to earth. All safe, thankfully.

John Endicott
Reply to  MarkW
October 12, 2018 12:17 pm

I’m not saying it’s aliens, but it looks like the aliens have been very busy of late 😉

Reply to  John Endicott
October 12, 2018 1:08 pm

…and their friends the cosmic rays getting through.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  ResourceGuy
October 12, 2018 1:46 pm

Hmm… Solar wind might repel aliens! 👨‍🎓😁

Pop Piasa
Reply to  John Endicott
October 12, 2018 2:29 pm

John, lately the aliens have been busy alright, campaigning for the Democrats…
(at least the ones they haven’t deported yet.)

Joel O’Bryan(@joelobryan)
October 12, 2018 12:19 pm

Hubble’s operations are likely to resume. The issue with a backup gyro are being addressed.
The 12 October update on Hubble from NASA is here:

Chandra’s problem event is still being analyzed to determine what happened. My money is on a single event upset from GCR , which are increasing in the inner solar system.

October 12, 2018 12:31 pm

Hope the ISS (International space station) is not next one.
When it is overhead a simple 144 MHz FM set up will pick-up the ISS signal, or you can use an ordinary VHF scanner with appropriate external antenna.
The ISS’s real time location link

Pop Piasa
Reply to  vukcevic
October 12, 2018 2:02 pm

Vuk, there’s a great phone app called ISS HD Live.
Not only gives the location but also camera views with the ability to take screenshots. They also notify you of any events, such as the scrub of the latest soyuz docking. Highly recommended.

Reply to  vukcevic
October 12, 2018 2:06 pm

The ISS gets a steady supply of spare parts. At least they did until the Russians stopped new launches while they investigate the recent launch failure.

Reply to  MarkW
October 12, 2018 2:36 pm

The ISS gets spare parts and supplies from other launch platforms besides the Russian Progress vessel.
They can get parts and supplies with the European ATV, Japanese Kounotor, the American Dragon and Cygnus.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  MarkW
October 12, 2018 2:41 pm

That investigation gives SpaceX some time to catch up. The dragon has fared well as a supply vehicle so far. Perhaps it will jump ahead in crew delivery too.

Mark, what I think is missing from the ISS is a combination retrieval/emergency escape vehicle which could navigate and bring orbiting objects to the ISS, or provide a re-entry capable lifeboat for the ISS.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Pop Piasa
October 12, 2018 3:28 pm

Here’s the acronym:
Orbital Object Recovery Emergency Exit vehicle-
They should love that at NASA. 👨‍🚀🛰

Gordon Dressler
Reply to  Pop Piasa
October 14, 2018 12:16 pm

The ISS orbits pretty much all the time with at least one Soyuz capsule docked to it to serve as an emergency return-to-Earth “lifeboat”. Periodically, the older lifeboat Soyuz is replaced by one that has just arrived to avoid having any Soyuz system age too much while in orbit.

October 12, 2018 3:03 pm

We should be grateful that these instruments AND the Mars rovers have outlived their design lives.
But like a car beyond 10 years, without regular service/part failure repair, the remaining useful life is just a crapshoot.
Example 1. My relatively low milage Chicago 1999 Audi A4 blew the timing chain 3 years ago. $8 k and one new complete head system later, runs like new. We were lucky, the catastrophic failure killed valves but not pistons.
Example 2. My relatively low milage 2000 BMW 325i just had to have the head gasket, the pan gasket, and the entire suspension rebuilt for $15k. All the critical rubber related parts failed within ~1.5 years.
In both cases, repairs cost less than vehicle residual value. In space, those kinds of repairs are not possible.

October 12, 2018 3:06 pm

Good thing Webb is up and supporting….Oh….Wait…..Never Mind.

Ric Werme(@ricwerme)
Reply to  Rotor
October 12, 2018 4:06 pm


And we could have a radio telescope on the far side of the moon, too by now.

Reply to  Rotor
October 13, 2018 6:03 am

Yeah, but gotta get Webb right. No servicing missions for it like Hubble….

Tom Abbott
October 12, 2018 5:09 pm

NASA needs an orbital transfer vehicle. It would be useful for all sorts of things like fixing satellites and going back and forth to the Moon and servicing that Solar Power Satellite we are going to build one of these days.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
October 12, 2018 8:27 pm

Not long ago, in a galaxy very, very near NASA announced a vision of permanent human colonization of space, which is problematic without a space craft.

“In 2005, then NASA Administrator Michael Griffin [Current US Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering] identified space colonization as the ultimate goal of current spaceflight programs, saying:

“… the goal isn’t just scientific exploration … it’s also about extending the range of human habitat out from Earth into the solar system as we go forward in time … In the long run a single-planet species will not survive … If we humans want to survive for hundreds of thousands or millions of years, we must ultimately populate other planets. Now, today the technology is such that this is barely conceivable. We’re in the infancy of it. … I’m talking about that one day, I don’t know when that day is, but there will be more human beings who live off the Earth than on it.” …”


Spacecraft built for Humans

Reply to  WXcycles
October 14, 2018 2:00 pm

And an accept6ance that fertile humans will need to go to orbit.
Fertile humans of both sexes.
So prepare for the nineteen-year-olds in space.

“… I’m talking about that one day, I don’t know when that day is, but there will be more human beings who live off the Earth than on it.” …” – Yer man Griffin.


Ernest Bush
Reply to  Tom Abbott
October 13, 2018 5:55 pm

SpaceX will have the BFR up and ready for all of those tasks in a few years. If successful, they will be years ahead of NASA and Boeing designs in getting to deep space.

Gordon Dressler
Reply to  Ernest Bush
October 14, 2018 12:08 pm

“. . . they will be years ahead of NASA and Boeing designs in getting to deep space.”

Uhhh, to do what exactly, that has not already been done?

October 12, 2018 5:56 pm

Gotta hate it when the gyro goes tits up, that’s when you wish you payed a little more attention to the flight instructor, he told you what to do, you recall don’t you ?

Reply to  u.k.(us)
October 13, 2018 6:09 pm

Switch to the Pitot/Static System.

Reply to  Rotor
October 13, 2018 6:39 pm

Cover up the gyro display and fly the ……it’s been a real long time….slip indicator, keep the wings level, live by the airspeed indicator, and don’t do anything stupid or sudden.

October 12, 2018 8:14 pm

As the International Space Station is obviously in a stable obit, why can’t we place such objects in the same obit and close to the Station. That way servicing of such satillites would be easy and inexpenses, a shuttle similar to the one in the Star Trek type would be sufficient for most work, or tow it to the Space Station for heavier work.


Reply to  Michael
October 14, 2018 1:06 am

It isn’t in a stable orbit. It needs regular boosting from the Zvezda engines.

No low orbit is stable.

Walter Dnes(@walterdnes)
Reply to  Michael
October 14, 2018 1:27 am

> As the International Space Station is obviously in a stable obit

Not really. The orbit decays due to atmospheric drag (YES!). and part of the standard supply delivery is fuel for occasional engine firings to maintain orbit. ISS orbits at approx 400 km (25 miles) above the earth’s surface. If it was abandoned, it would eventually drop down low enough to do a flaming atmospheric re-entry just like Skylab

Why orbit so low that you run into some atmospheric drag, you ask? There’s this thing called the Van Allen Radiation belt
> The inner Van Allen Belt extends typically from an altitude of 0.2 to 2 Earth radii
> (L values of 1 to 3) or 1,000 km (620 mi) to 6,000 km (3,700 mi) above the Earth. In
> certain cases when solar activity is stronger or in geographical areas such as the South Atlantic Anomaly,
> the inner boundary may decline to roughly 200 kilometers above the Earth’s surface.

Radiation exposure during an ISS tour of duty is bad enough as it is. You do *NOT* want it flying around in the Van Allen Belt.

Reply to  Walter Dnes
October 14, 2018 9:47 am

Yep, shooting straight through it is risky enough (Apollo went through the polar window to minimise the risk), but putting people in it for months at a time is about 100% deadly.

Reply to  Keith
October 14, 2018 2:06 pm

Do we have a potential solution for politicians – more-better than recall?

Spend a year or two in the Van Allen belts???

Just askin’???


Jonathan from WI
October 12, 2018 9:39 pm

I wonder what Operating system the telescope was using. Being the hardware was over 19 years old, I might say it wore out. The age of solid state drives were not a thing back then, but hard drives were. I bet they never thought that servicing the device would be shut down over time, and they would not be able to be updated or replaced over time. The hardware running the computers systems my have just gone out due to age. Poor planning on shutting shuttle missions down.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Jonathan from WI
October 13, 2018 4:26 am

I agree they retired the Space Shuttle too early. Now NASA is spending additional billions of dollars developing a new heavy-lift vehicle that is no more capable than was the Space Shuttle Launch System. NASA threw away a perfectly fine heavy-lift vehicle with the scrapping of the Space Shuttle.

Be that as it may, NASA needs to get off their butts and reacquire NASA’s human access to space, and I don’t mean by buying seats on the Russian Soyuz.

NASA needs to get its own new human-rated vehcile going and it needs to get the private contractors going on getting humans into space.

Bureaucracies are slow as molasses. If they don’t have a visionary at the helm to cut through the red tape and keep things focused, then they go nowhere fast.

John Tillman
Reply to  Tom Abbott
October 13, 2018 10:37 am


Shuttle missions were very expensive and needlessly dangerous, made worse by trying to adhere to NASA’s promised schedule to which couldn’t be safely kept. I was OK with shutting that system down. The reusable components didn’t pan out as expected.

The problem IMO is that NASA didn’t have coming on line, or the Obama Administration didn’t want and Congress didn’t fund, an improved replacement.

Reply to  Jonathan from WI
October 14, 2018 1:10 am

Perhaps Windows NT? That would explain why it has worked OK so long.

Gerald the Mole
October 13, 2018 1:51 am

If they have lasted so long after their design life would it be true to say that they were over-engineered?

Does this mean that they cost more than they should?

Joel O'Bryan(@joelobryan)
Reply to  Gerald the Mole
October 13, 2018 2:05 pm

Space-flight qualified hardware is un-godly expensive no matter its design life.

Reply to  Gerald the Mole
October 14, 2018 1:11 am

Something that is extremely expensive and not reachable for repair can’t be over-engineered.

Marc K
October 13, 2018 6:07 am

This may be of interest. There have been a spate of reaction wheel failures that are possibly due to solar activity. See which also links to

Hubble has certainly been out there for a long time so I’m not sue you could actually attribute this failure to solar activity but maybe over the long hall it’s a factor.

Reply to  Marc K
October 14, 2018 8:21 am

Great link.
” it was eventually concluded that the bearing failures and anomalies were in response to the environment, and likely caused by electrical discharge across the bearings due to rapid space craft charging in a volatile space plasma environment. ”
They then found friction anomalies in ball bearings with modest charging tests.
That would imply no damage if the system shutdown.

October 13, 2018 10:12 am

Chandra couldn’t have been serviced by the shuttle in any case. It is in a very high eccentric orbit (perigee 14,000 km, apogee 135,000 km) far beyond the capability of the shuttle.

Laurie Bowen
October 13, 2018 11:26 am

Maybe the “Death Star”? . . . . Or another kind of unintended coincidence affecting the electronic gyroscopes.

I would consult the inventer, Dean Kamen, and the tech used for his self-balancing personal transporter by Segway Inc.

Keith Sketchley
Reply to  Laurie Bowen
October 13, 2018 11:39 am

They gyroscopes in orbital platforms are mechanical, not electronic.comment image

These thing physically stabilize what they are used in.

Gordon Dressler
Reply to  Keith Sketchley
October 14, 2018 11:03 am

One needs to be careful about terminology with regards to spacecraft systems. The term “gyroscopes” is more properly applied to mechanical of fiber-optic devices used to determine attitude, whereas the terms “reaction wheels” or “momentum wheels” are used to refer to larger mechanical devices used to store angular momentum about one of more spacecraft axes. This stored angular momentum can be used to rotate the spacecraft about it’s three principle axes in order to point the spacecraft as desired for any given scientific observation or emergency pointing “maneuver”.

October 14, 2018 6:11 am

As i said when they decommissioned the shuttles – who the hell stops using something without the replacement for it being ready to take the job?

That’s a definite backwards step; deliberate, perhaps. There seems to be a current trend in Western Lands of trying to cast us back some 100+years.

Reply to  Casey
October 14, 2018 8:31 am

100+ years plus 1 election. The extraterrestrial imperative – Apollo, Shuttle, is the breakout. As Trump just said nobody took a knee on the Moon.

Reply to  bonbon
October 16, 2018 10:31 pm

I believe Elon Musk is currently designing a skintight spacesuit whose flexibility will make it easier to take a knew on any body.

Reply to  Casey
October 14, 2018 6:43 pm


Unfortunately NASA Administrator Michael Griffin talked Pres. Bush into retiring the Shuttle and using the savings to fund Constellation, a system he designed. Before it could come online Obama killed the program. Results: America has not had a manned space flight program for 7 years.

Gordon Dressler
October 14, 2018 10:49 am

Uhhhh . . . due to Chandra Observatory’s particular high energy orbit (approximately 86,487 statute mile apogee and approximately 5,999 statute mile perigee), it would be impossible for anything similar to the US Space Shuttle to rendezvous and service this spacecraft.

October 22, 2018 9:01 am

Cosmic ray counts are approaching Space Age highs, it will make it tougher for satellites to stay healthy.

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