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Herschel Status Report - January 2011

Herschel Status Report - January 2011

Report for period 9 December 2010 to 20 January 2011Mission operations of the Herschel space observatory continued nominally during the reporting period, with the spacecraft and subsystems all performing as expected. The first observations from the first in-flight Open Time (OT1) programmes have been carried out.


The spacecraft continues to be in good health and has operated nominally during the reporting period, except for a few star tracker anomalies encountered on two successive days just before Christmas. On the first day it was found that the satellite had declared the standard star tracker (STR-1) unhealthy and autonomously reconfigured operations to STR-2. The standard configuration was restored during the ground station pass. On the following pass it was found that both STR-1 and STR-2 had been declared unhealthy, albeit for different reasons. The star tracker configurations were returned to nominal again, and have remained nominal ever since.


The three instruments have operated nominally for nearly the whole of the reporting period. At the expense of some observing time a SPIRE single event upset (SEU) had to be recovered from. Two other SEUs occurred with HIFI, but because the instrument was inactive during both events they could be recovered from without any loss of observing time.

Ground Segment

The first observations from the approved Open Time (OT1) programmes have been carried out. These programmes were selected from the proposals received in response to the first in-flight call for observing proposals (see the status report from November 2010). Completion of the Key Programmes (KPGT and KPOT) and the first in-flight Guaranteed Time (GT1) observations continues to take precedence, but OT1 observations are now also being inserted into the schedule. These help to maintain the highest possible scheduling efficiency for Herschel when no KP or GT1 observation of appropriate duration and compatible with the attitude constraints is available.

As of 13 January 2011, the completion of the different programme parts was:

KPGT  Key Programme Guaranteed Time 64%
KPOT  Key Programme Open Time 60%
GT1  First in-flight Guaranteed Time 35%
OT1  First in-flight Open Time 0.4%

For more details of these different programme parts, see the "overview of Herschel observing" linked from the right-hand menu.
Over the past 6 months, on average, 18.96 hours have been spent per day collecting science data. For the latest completed observing cycle (#31) this average was more than 20 hours per day. The remaining time can either not be used (because, for example, the PACS and/or SPIRE coolers are being recycled, or no observation of appropriate duration is available, or spacecraft activities are incompatible with the taking of science data), or this time is spent performing calibration/engineering observations (nominally these activities account for about 15% of the time, or about 3.6 hours per day).

Mission Operations
During the reporting period, mission operations have been conducted with the support of the ESA New Norcia ground station. Observational data stored on-board Herschel was received on ground during communication passes lasting approximately three hours.

The ground segment is operating nominally. Data products are generated routinely and ingested into the Herschel Science Archive (HSA).

Legal disclaimer
This report is based on the Herschel mission manager's report dated 20 January 2011. Please see the copyright section of the legal disclaimer (linked from the home page for terms of use.

Last Update: 1 September 2019
1-Dec-2021 10:07 UT

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