Update: 3:50 p.m.
A National Science Foundation spokesperson said a support team is working on restoring the agency's data center and network operations after a capacitor explosion at the Arlington facility knocked out power around 7:20 p.m. July 21.
In an initial assessment, the support team said there were no vulnerabilities — meaning the outage likely isn't the result of a cyberattack — and as of yet there does not appear to be any loss of data, a significant fear after a power outage resulting in prolonged downtime.
Engineers are hoping to have the network back online by 6 p.m. Friday, though it could be longer.
Original Story: 12:15 p.m.
The National Science Foundation says a power outage knocked out its data centers, networks and business applications around 7:20 p.m. Thursday, July 21, crippling its systems through the night and for most of the day Friday.
According to a message on the agency's website, "A power failure in the NSF data center Thursday evening caused all servers to shut down. This means that NSF IT systems are unavailable to NSF staff and our research community of applicants and awardees."
NSF IT experts hope to have the network restored by 5 or 6 p.m. Friday, according to a NSF spokesperson, though it could take even longer.
Along with internal servers and networks, the outage also hit NSF's websites, including NSF.gov, Research.gov, FastLane — the agency's proposal submission system — and the help desk.
While NSF is one of the smaller federal agencies, it has a sophisticated network designed to facilitate the sharing of massive amounts of data with researchers worldwide — even at the ends of the Earth.
NSF staff are still hard at work Friday, according to the spokesperson, who said the internal networks are down but many employees have Wi-Fi hotspots and access to cloud systems, including email.
"We are very much a mobile agency," they said.
All proposals, reports and other deadlines for July 22 have been postponed until early next week, as have July 21 deadlines for researchers on the West Coast who were required to submit after 7 p.m. EST. The new deadlines will be announced on NSF.gov and FastLane when the servers are back online.