Mission extensions approved for science missions
07 October 2009ESA's Science Programme Committee has approved the extension of mission operations for XMM-Newton, INTEGRAL, Venus Express, Mars Express and Cluster, as well as the ESA support to the operations of HST and SOHO, until 31 December 2012. An additional year of operations has been approved for Planck.
The missions under consideration at this meeting were: XMM-Newton, INTEGRAL, Venus Express, Mars Express and Cluster, and the ESA support to the operations of HST and SOHO. The case for extending the period of operations for these missions is based on the value of the science added as a result of extended operations. The proposal for extension of mission operations for all of these missions, based on recommendations from an SPC Task Group and the Space Science Advisory Committee (SSAC), was accepted by the SPC.
The extensions for mission operations are approved up to 31 December 2012, subject to a mid-term review in 2010. Towards the end of 2010 the SPC will be requested to confirm, subject to the satisfactory performance of the missions, the remaining two years of the extension and to consider further extensions of operations.
The additional year of Planck operations, to follow on from the end of nominal operations in 2010, would facilitate an additional two sky surveys. This extra period of operations is subject to the SSAC confirming that the mission has achieved satisfactory in-orbit performance. Planck, launched in May 2009, has recently commenced routine operations following the successful completion of the in-orbit commissioning and performance verification phases.
The nominal mission operations for Herschel, which was launched with Planck in May 2009, were previously approved until end 2012.
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