2018-11-06 22:30:42 UTC
In July 2012 one of the Kepler Space Telescopes four reaction wheels
failed (the operation of reaction wheels was described by Robert
Heinlein in _Rocket Ship Galileo_, page 121 of the hardcover edition).
After a second reaction wheel failed in May 2013 Kepler could no
longer hold orientation as accurately as required for its primary
mission, and it was operated in a degraded mode on an alternate
research program until it was shut down last week after its
propellants ran out.
It now occurs to me that, back in 2013, NASA could have simply
brought in political consultants to do spin control. This type
of thing is routine to them, and it was an off year so many
consultants would have been available.