Hubble Trouble: ACS down

NASAwatch reports ACS outage
Electronics problems. ACS observations suspended for a week while a tiger team studies the issue.

Could be resolved quickly, or could be Really Bad News.

Will keep an eye out.
Hm, leaves WFPC2 and NICMOS operating. They’ll run out of targets pretty quickly.

Hopefully they can just power up the spare “side 2” electronics and resume normal operation, though you never know until you try…
This is at least a warning to us all – this stuff is worryingly fragile in many ways, and operations are on a thread.

Update: apparently they think it is the power converter, not the electronic boxes themselves.
If so, then odds of side 2 spare electronics taking over successfully are high.
They’ll very gingerly switch them on over the next two weeks while burning through NICMOS/WFPC2 and FGS targets. Hopefully have ACS observations by July 4th or so.


  1. #1 Babe in the Universe
    June 21, 2006

    This is one more reason to hope we repair HST, that the July 1 launch goes off safely, that the shuttle can survive 16 more missions to complete the ISS and 1 more to rescue Hubble.

  2. #2 Brad
    June 21, 2006

    Or it could be the best thing to happen for space-based astronomy this year.

    Many people blame the current mission funding crisis on the insistence that we maintain Hubble while, at the same time, ramping up JWST. I recall the many planning
    documents which showed a quasi-level budget with JWST ramping up and HST ramping
    down. That was the original plan.

    But when push came to shove, this didn’t happen, NASA didn’t come up with new money
    and so other (approved) missions are being cut. Even if Hubble is still producing science
    there is an argument to be made for scaling it back in the interests of future returns.

    The problem is that there is a large community which relies on HST funding to survive and so we also need to face the uncomfortable possibility that our soft money community may need to shrink…

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