Image: FUSE in artist's conception
The Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer, or FUSE, returned to full strength last month, two years after a failure nearly ended its mission.
updated 2/24/2006 1:34:24 AM ET 2006-02-24T06:34:24

A NASA telescope is operating normally again after a mishap nearly ended its mission two years ago, scientists said Thursday.

The orbiting telescope called FUSE — Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer — returned to full strength last month after engineers fixed the problem with its onboard software control system, said William Blair of the Johns Hopkins University, who is part of the project.

"The old satellite still has some spunk," Blair said in a statement.

Launched in 1999, FUSE views objects by splitting light into thousands of spectra, or bands. So far, the telescope has detected a circle of hot gas surrounding the Milky Way, and found evidence of molecular hydrogen in Mars' atmosphere.

In 2001, two of the telescope's four reaction wheels, which control its direction, failed, but resumed again two months later. In 2004, a third reaction wheel stopped spinning.

FUSE is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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