NASA Seeks Information from Potential Funders for Spitzer

NASA is seeking
information from U.S. parties interested
in operating the Spitzer Space
Telescope with non-NASA funding
after March 2019, when NASA financial support ends.
Spitzer is
expected to be able to support its current operations through
2019, and operations beyond September 2020 should be
possible for observing
modes with the lowest data

“This provides an opportunity for a public-private
partnership to continue a highly successful mission,” said Paul
of the NASA Astrophysics Division
in the Science Mission Directorate at

mission and spacecraft operations must remain
at NASA’s Jet Propulsion
Laboratory, Pasadena, California, and
Lockheed Martin, Littleton, Colorado. The
scheduling portion
of science operations and science data processing will
at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech in
Pasadena. The
cost for operating Spitzer for fiscal year 2018
is $14 million.

Launched in
2003, Spitzer has pushed the boundaries of
space science and technology
numerous times while exploring
the universe in infrared light. From its prime
“cold” mission,
it transitioned to a “warm mission” in May
2009 when the
liquid helium coolant that chilled its instruments ran

Currently, Spitzer is in its “Beyond” phase. The
reflects the engineering challenges of a spacecraft getting
farther from
Earth, as well as its accomplishments. The
telescope’s current areas of
research include topics it wasn’t
originally planned to address — such as
galaxies in the very
early universe and exoplanets. Recently, Spitzer revealed the
seven Earth-size exoplanets of TRAPPIST-1.

Full details
and the request for information are found

JPL manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for
Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science
operations are conducted at
the Spitzer Science Center at
Caltech in Pasadena, California.
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. For
more information
about Spitzer, visit:

News Media Contact

Elizabeth Landau
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Dwayne Brown
NASA Headquarters, Washington