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Space NASA

NASA's Broken Planet-hunter Spacecraft Given Second Life 55

Posted by Soulskill
from the right-on dept.
coondoggie writes "NASA today said it would fund the technology fixes required to make its inoperative Kepler space telescope active again and able to hunt for new planets and galaxies. Kepler, you may recall, was rendered inoperable after the second of four gyroscope-like reaction wheels, which are used to precisely point the spacecraft for extended periods of time, failed last year, ending data collection for the original mission. The spacecraft required three working wheels to maintain the precision pointing necessary to detect the signal of small Earth-sized exoplanets."
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NASA's Broken Planet-hunter Spacecraft Given Second Life

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  • by Squidlips (1206004) on Friday May 16, 2014 @01:32PM (#47019713)
    From Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UTC_Aerospace_Systems): "Ithaco became notable for having manufactured the reaction wheels of the Kepler spacecraft, the Hayabusa spacecraft, the Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) satellite and the Dawn spacecraft, which developed problems or even failed" May its name live in infamy. http://science.slashdot.org/st... [slashdot.org]
  • by decsnake (6658) on Friday May 16, 2014 @02:18PM (#47020153) Homepage

    Is this: "crappy company delivers badly on contracts" or "company specializes in class of components that have a relatively high failure rate"?

    While RWs are way more complex than you would probably guess and have a history of failures across the industry, I still think in this case it is the former rather than the latter. After it started looking looking like there were systemic problems with Ithaco wheels, we developed our own wheels in-house. They haven't been perfect but there have been no mission ending problems with ours (so far; knocking on wood etc), unlike the Ithaco wheels.

It is much easier to suggest solutions when you know nothing about the problem.

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