12.03.15

Status Report for NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope

Default Spitzer Space Telescope graphic.

On Nov. 26, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope entered into a standby mode while executing regular calibration observations. This mode is triggered by the spacecraft's fault protection system when an anomaly occurs. It puts Spitzer in a standby configuration until further instructions from the ground are received.

The anomaly occurred after a brief communication interruption between Spitzer's infrared array camera (IRAC) and the spacecraft computer. These interruptions have been seen before but have always resolved themselves within a few seconds. The Spitzer team is working through recovery procedures and plans to be back to normal operations within a couple of weeks. 

Spitzer had not entered a standby mode since July 2009. The mission launched in 2003 and completed its primary mission in 2009. Spitzer explores the cosmos in infrared light, studying everything from asteroids in our solar system to exotic planets outside our solar system to the most remote galaxies billions of light-years away.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Spacecraft operations are based at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Littleton, Colorado. Data are archived at the Infrared Science Archive housed at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.