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Hubble telescope's main camera shuts down
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  • WASHINGTON, June 25 (AFP) Jun 25, 2006
    The main camera of the Hubble Space Telescope, which has beamed amazing images of distant galaxies back to earth, has stopped working, according to the Space Telescope Science Institute (STSI).

    Engineers are trying to understand what caused the Advanced Camera for Surveys to shut down last Monday, according to STSI, which is based in Baltimore, Maryland, outside Washington.

    "The camera sent messages indicating that power supply voltages were above their upper limits and were causing it to stop working. At this point, the ACS is in a safe configuration, and further analysis is ongoing," STSI said in a statement.

    The ACS, which was installed during a space shuttle mission in 2002, is composed of three cameras that can see from ultraviolet to infrared light.

    The came is a collaboration of Johns Hopkins University, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. and STSI.

    The ageing Hubble, which was launched by the space shuttle on April 24, 1990, needs new gyroscopes to remain stable in orbit as well as new electric generators.

    NASA plans to send the shuttle in late 2007 to do maintenance work on the telescope and prolong its lifespan by five years. Hubble was supposed to last 15 years.

    The space telescope orbits 600 kilometers (370 miles) from earth.

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