Asset Publisher

Herschel Status Report - February and March 2012

Herschel Status Report - February and March 2012

Report for period 31 January to 19 March 2012Mission 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.

Based on the improved knowledge of effects that contribute to the pointing accuracy of the Herschel observatory, two measures to further improve the pointing for future observations have now been implemented:

  1. higher order corrections (i.e. smaller than the two earlier updates in July and September 2011) in the on-board star tracker model,
  2. update of the on-board star catalogue to exclude high proper motion stars and stars of lesser positional accuracy to the maximum extent possible.

With the implementation of these final measures the Herschel Attitude Control and Monitoring System appears to now have been taken to its performance limit; the pointing error has reached a 1-σ value of about 0.85 arcsecond.


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

Ground Segment

Ground segment operations have been nominal and 100% of the data continues to be recovered. As of 9 March 2012, the approximate completion of the different programme parts was:


KPGT  Key Programme Guaranteed Time 99%
KPOT  Key Programme Open Time 98%
GT1  First in-flight Guaranteed Time 98%
OT1  First in-flight Open Time, high priority 69%
  First in-flight Open Time, lower priority 2%
GT2  Second in-flight Guaranteed Time 27%
OT2 Second in-flight Open Time, priority 1 4%
  Second in-flight Open Time, priority 2 0%

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

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

Mission Operations
Throughout 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.

A routine station-keeping manoeuvre, or orbit correction manoeuvre, was performed on 2 March. These routine manoeuvres ensure the spacecraft maintains its correct orbit about L2.

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

Future Milestones

  • 14 May 2012: Third launch anniversary of Herschel

Legal disclaimer
This report is based on the Herschel mission manager's report dated 19 March 2012. Please see the copyright section of the legal disclaimer (linked from the home page for terms of use.

Last Update: 1 September 2019
21-Feb-2024 04:54 UT

ShortUrl Portlet

Shortcut URL

Images And Videos

Related Publications

See Also