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05.28.09

Spitzer Status Update

Characterization activities for NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope continue, a process that began after its cryogen ran out on May 15. The mission will soon begin a new "warm" era of science, with two infrared channels capable of continued studies of the cosmos. During initial testing activities, engineers and scientists discovered that a software patch is needed for the controllers that set the temperature of Spitzer's infrared array camera -- the instrument that will still function during Spitzer's warm mission. The patch, which is being developed now, will allow the temperature of the array to be adjusted around the expected equilibrium temperature of the observatory. The spacecraft is healthy and the observatory has been thoroughly checked out in anticipation of upcoming infrared array camera activities.