We wish to announce two significant changes to the Cycle 10 proposal process.
It now appears that servicing mission SM3B will likely occur as late as (or later than) November 1, 2001, well into Cycle 10. The earliest possible GO observations on the new instruments (ACS and NICMOS) would then be in ~March 2002. We can ensure that ACS and NICMOS science will still be scheduled as early as possible by using the Cycle 11 review (notifications expected on or before December 2001).
Therefore we have decided, in consultation with the HST Project and the Chairs of the Users Committee and the STIC, that while WFPC2, STIS, and FGS will continue to be available:
***** ACS and NICMOS will not be offered in Cycle 10. *****
We estimate that at most 600 orbits would have been available, and that science will be better served by having those ACS and NICMOS proposals chosen in late 2001 rather than this coming fall. GTO observations in the Cycle 10 catalog will be protected against duplication even if ACS deployment is delayed until Cycle 11 (see section 5.2 of the CP for details).
Another important change will be the unavailability of the Aft Shroud Cooling System (ASCS) during Cycle 10. Hence,
***** there will be no STIS NUV MAMA low dark current campaigns. *****
(this supersedes Section 4.3.4 of the Call for Proposals).
Based on the presently projected SM3B date, we expect Cycle 10 to start on July 1, 2001 and to include a full year of observations minus the ~2-3 month cost of the servicing mission including verification. If the present schedule holds, there may be fewer WFPC2/STIS/FGS opportunities toward the end of Cycle 10, as observations with the new instruments, ACS and NICMOS, ramp up and fewer than a full year of orbits may be allocated (depending on information available at the time of the Cycle 10 TAC in November 2000).
We regret we were unable to announce this in the Call for Proposals issued last month but the information was (and is) still evolving. ACS and NICMOS proposals will be solicited for Cycle 11, which has a nominal deadline in September 2001. Meanwhile, proposers can choose the best science without resorting to strategic games regarding instrument choice.
We will keep you informed should further significant changes occur prior to the proposal deadline.
During Servicing Mission SM3B the new ACS will be installed, NICMOS will be revived through the installation of the NICMOS Cooling System, and an aft-shroud cooling system (ASCS) may be installed for the axial instruments. SM3B is currently anticipated to occur sometime in the July - December 2001 time frame (i.e., during Cycle 10, which starts nominally in July 2001 and has a duration of one year). If you wish to use ACS or NICMOS in Cycle 10, or to do science that depends on the availability of the ASCS (e.g., observations in one of the planned STIS NUV-MAMA low dark current campaigns) then please continue to monitor this web page. It is expected that updates on the anticipated details of SM3B will be made available before the Cycle 10 deadline. These details may affect the availability of the ACS, NICMOS or ASCS in Cycle 10.