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03-Mar-06 | FUSE operational

The Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) has returned to operational status after ten months offline, thanks to tenacious programmers and ingenious use of on-board equipment.  After the third of four reaction control wheels failed in December 2004, FUSE was left with insufficient attitude control.  Mission controllers found a way to use its magnetic torquer bars to provide control in two axes, while the remaining reaction control wheel stabilizes the third axis.  “It’s like we had three strong muscles originally, and could point FUSE wherever we wanted to,” said William Blair, FUSE’s chief of observatory operations. “Now we have to control the pointing with one strong muscle and two weak muscles. The revised control software is like a good physical therapist, teaching the satellite to compensate.”  Observations resumed on 1 November 2005.  FUSE launched aboard Delta 271 in June 1999. (Spaceflight Now, 25-Feb-06)

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