Hubble Space Telescope to Retire After 24 Years of Star Gazing

The venerable Hubble Space Telescope launched in 1990, which revolutionized astronomical discovery will ease into retirement with a scaled-back observing schedule, informed NASA on Tuesday.

One of the three gyroscopes that control the direction in which the telescope points, has become unstable in recent months. “After completing a series of tests and carefully considering our options, we have made the decision that we will transition Hubble to operate using only one of its three remaining gyros,” said NASA’s Mark Clampin, director of the astrophysics division.

The other gyro will be kept powered up in reserve for potential future use.

The transition, which should be completed by mid-June, will reduce Hubble’s efficiency. Over the course of a year, it will still be able to view the full night sky. It will no longer be able to track objects that are closer than Mars.

NASA calculates there is a greater than 70 per cent chance of operating with this configuration through 2035. At the end of the telescope’s life, the US space agency plans to safely de-orbit or otherwise dispose of the popular science instrument.

It was named after astronomer Edwin Hubble. This space telescope operates about 515 kilometers above Earth.

Between 1993 and 2009 astronauts visited Hubble five times on repair missions.

Hubble in 2022 detected the farthest individual star ever seen — Earendel, whose light took 12.9 billion years to reach us.

Now newer James Webb Space Telescope that excels in infrared detection is the major human made telescope in space.

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