NASAs Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer astronomy satellite is back in full operation, its aging onboard software control system rejuvenated and its mission extended by enterprising scientists and engineers after a near-death experience in December 2004.
Observations with the orbiting telescope resumed Nov. 1, 2005, about ten months after the third of four onboard reaction wheels, used to precisely point the spacecraft and hold it steady, stopped spinning. After two months of experience tweaking the new control system in November and December, FUSE operations returned in January to a level of efficiency comparable to earlier in the mission, mission managers said.
"Its really a level of performance that we never thought we would see again," said William Blair, a research professor in physics and astronomy at Johns Hopkins and FUSEs chief of observatory operations. "The old satellite still has some spunk."
Lisa DeNike | EurekAlert!
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