Hubble Rumor

By JoAnne Hewett | June 28, 2006 4:08 pm

Just heard a rumor at dinner that the main camera on Hubble had a voltage overload a couple days ago and is now off-line. The backup camera system has now been activated. Anyone out there know more about this? Any confirmations or denials or more info?

  • Brian Gerke

    Yes, ACS is currently in “safe mode” and not taking data while the problem is being addressed (NASA seems confident that it’s fixable). The other instruments on HST (NICMOS, WFPC2) are still operating.

    Nice blog, by the way. I just found it the other day.

  • Cosma

    Who needs rumors when you have press releases from the offical website?

  • damtp_dweller

    This is was already covered on Slashdot several days ago so it’s far from being a breaking story.

  • JoAnne

    Thanks all. I’ve been sequesterd in a windowless room in Germany for the past couple days, so am a bit out of touch. I tried a google search but came up short (obviously used the wrong phrase to search on)…

    PS: I was at a dinner table full of astrophysicists and none of them had heard anything about it!

  • Louise

    STS-121 Discovery is scheduled to launch at 1948 GMT Saturday July 1. To complete the shuttle program 16 flights are planned to finish ISS, plus one additional mission in ‘007 or ‘008 to repair Hubble. Discovery flew the 3rd Hubble service mission in December 1999.

  • Steinn Sigurdsson


    Committee meets thursday to decide how to try out the side 2 (redundant spare) electronics. Concern is common mode failure in the power supplies, or independent failure (since it is equally old).

    Will know ~ 4th July if ACS can come back on.
    NICMOS runs mostly in the meantime – not many WFPC2 proposals in the
    pipeline and one of the WFPC2 chips is busted.

    If ACS is dead, then the funding for ACS proposals in this cycle will not go through and there will be a lot of pain in astronomy.

  • Harv

    I’d heard about this through a friend who works at Space Telescope. (and would only repeat what is said here)

    Mostly, I’m just sitting on pins and needles since our team finally got a proposal through this cycle after 5 or 6 years of trying that uses ACS.

  • Louise

    “But in today’s oddly phrased statement, there is a strong hint that the solution is a done deal: ‘Engineers anticipate instrument observations will resume no earlier than July 3, with no degradation in performance.'” courtesy of

  • Steinn Sigurdsson

    The solution is a done deal in that they will shut down side 1 electronics
    and power up the spare side 2 electronics.
    If it works, it works. If there is common mode failure it doesn’t work at all and both sides fail.
    Most likely it will work just fine.

  • Joe

    According to this article the ACS is back up and should be available for science from tomorrow.

  • Stephen Uitti

    This is, of course, old news, but the ACS is back on line.


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