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Herschel Status Report - April 2011

Herschel Status Report - April 2011

Report for period 16 March to 15 April 2011Mission operations of the Herschel space observatory continued nominally during the reporting period, with the spacecraft and subsystems all performing as expected. The second in-flight Announcement of Opportunity (AO2) process started on 7 April. It is the final AO for Herschel observing time.


The spacecraft continues to be in good health and is operating nominally.


Operations for all three instruments, PACS, SPIRE and HIFI, have been nominal for the entire reporting period. Scientific observations were performed at a level of nearly 21 hours per day.

Ground Segment

Ground segment operations have been nominal and 100% of the data continues to be recovered. As of 15 April 2011, the approximate completion of the different programme parts was:

KPGT  Key Programme Guaranteed Time 80%
KPOT  Key Programme Open Time 76%
GT1  First in-flight Guaranteed Time 53%
OT1  First in-flight Open Time 1.9%

For more details of these different programme parts, see the "overview of Herschel observing" linked from the right-hand menu.

On 7 April the second, and final, in-flight Announcement of Opportunity (AO2) process was kicked-off, which like for the previous AOs has two parts: the Call for Guaranteed Time Programmes (GT2) and the Call for Open Time Programmes (OT2). The GT2 AO was issued on 7 April and will close on 12 May 2011. The OT2 AO will be issued on 9 June 2011 and will close on 15 September 2011. There will be no further AOs for Herschel observing time.

A cross-calibration agreement has been reached among the Herschel Science Centre, the Planck HFI instrument team and the Herschel SPIRE instrument team. Under this agreement the Herschel team can use Planck HFI data for specific calibration purposes.

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

A ground station outage at Cebreros led to one missed communication pass; the first of the mission. The 48-hour spacecraft autonomy served its purpose and Herschel operations continued nominally without any loss of science. The data stored on-board the spacecraft were successfully downlinked during subsequent passes.

To facilitate maintenance on the New Norcia and Cebreros 35-metre antennae this summer, ESA's Kourou ground station (a 15-metre antenna) is planned to be used for much of the Herschel communication passes in August.

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

Future Milestones

  • 12 May 2011: Closing date of the GT2 AO.
  • 9 June 2011: Issuing date of the OT2 AO.
  • 15 September 2011: Closing date of the OT2 AO.

Legal disclaimer
This report is based on the Herschel mission manager's report dated 15 April 2011. Please see the copyright section of the legal disclaimer (linked from the home page for terms of use.

Last Update: 1 September 2019
3-Oct-2023 20:55 UT

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