News Release Archive:

News Release 502 of 1051

August 31, 2005 10:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2005-24

Hubble Space Telescope Begins "Two-Gyro" Science Operations


Image: HST Pointing Control System Diagram

HST Pointing Control System Diagram

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Hubble uses some very basic physics to turn itself around and look at different parts of the sky. Located on the telescope are six gyroscopes (which, like a compass, always point in the same direction) and four free-spinning steering devices called reaction wheels.

The gyroscopes sense when the telescope needs to be repointed. When they "tell" Hubble that it needs to turn itself, a computer gives a command to give the reaction wheels a "push" or "spin."

Image Type: Illustration

Illustration Credits: NASA, ESA, A. Feild and K. Cordes (STScI), and Lockheed Martin


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