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Herschel Status Report - October 2011

Herschel Status Report - October 2011

Report for period 22 September to 13 October 2011Mission operations of the Herschel space observatory continued nominally during the reporting period, with the spacecraft and subsystems all performing as expected.


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

During the previous reporting period, on 18 September, a correction was implemented to correct for tilt of the CCD in the star tracker focal plane (see the previous status report linked from the right-hand menu). Following the successful trial, this correction was made permanent on 26 September.

While Herschel's pointing performance has always been well within specification, the correction has resulted in a further improvement of the Absolute Pointing Error (APE) of the observatory. The APE has been confirmed to now be about 1" (prior to the correction it was about 1.5"), corresponding to less than one-hundredth of the size of a CCD pixel.

As a result of this supreme pointing as compared to the specifications, higher order effects can now be seen. One follow-up that is being pursued consists of identifying and removing guide stars of lesser positional accuracy from the guide star catalogue that otherwise could lead to outliers (at the new, smaller scale) in the APE.


Operations for all three instruments, PACS, SPIRE and HIFI, have been nominal during the reporting period.

Ground Segment

Ground segment operations continued to proceed well and the data recovery has remained at 100%. As of 7 October 2011, the approximate completion of the different programme parts was:

KPGT  Key Programme Guaranteed Time 95%
KPOT  Key Programme Open Time 96%
GT1  First in-flight Guaranteed Time 92%
OT1  First in-flight Open Time, high priority 19%
  First in-flight Open Time, lower priority 2%
GT2 Second in-flight Guaranteed Time 1%

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

The second, and final, call for Open Time Proposals (OT2) for observing with Herschel was closed in mid-September. The technical evaluation of the 531 submitted proposals is in progress in preparation of the Herschel Observing Time Allocation Committee meeting in the first half of November.

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

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

Future Milestones

  • Late November 2011: Announcement of approved OT2 proposals.

Legal disclaimer
This report is based on the Herschel mission manager's report dated 13 October 2011. Please see the copyright section of the legal disclaimer (linked from the home page for terms of use.

Last Update: 1 September 2019
24-Sep-2023 07:12 UT

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