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Herschel Status Report - September 2012

Herschel Status Report - September 2012

Report for period 30 August to 2 October 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.

Regarding the predicted end of Herschel's operational lifetime for scientific observations, no impact on operations is expected from liquid helium (LHe) film behaviour near the exhaustion of this coolant. In principle the active cooling system can run up until the day the LHe runs out. After exhaustion of the LHe, the payload warm-up is expected to be rapid (on the order of minutes to hours), allowing no significant post-LHe usage of HIFI (the only instrument for which this might have been possible).


Operations for all three instruments, PACS, SPIRE and HIFI, have been nominal during the reporting period. Occasional HIFI and SPIRE single event upsets (SEUs) were routinely handled via standard procedures and recovered, with in most cases no impact on the science observations. A total of about 15 hours of science were lost.

Ground Segment

Ground segment operations have been nominal and 100% of the data continues to be recovered. As of 28 September 2012, the approximate completion of the different programme parts was:

KPGT  Key Programme Guaranteed Time >99%
KPOT  Key Programme Open Time >99%
GT1  First in-flight Guaranteed Time >99%
OT1  First in-flight Open Time, high priority 95%
  First in-flight Open Time, lower priority 5.4%
GT2  Second in-flight Guaranteed Time 86%
OT2 Second in-flight Open Time, priority 1 65%
  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.

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.

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

Future Milestones

  • 9-11 October 2012: HIPE Forum - Gathering of Herschel distributed developer community responsible for upkeep of the ground system and data processing software
  • 30 October 2012: Post-Operations Readiness Review kick-off meeting
  • February/March 2013: Predicted end of operational lifetime for scientific observations (exhaustion of the liquid helium for the spacecraft's active cooling system)
  • 1 July 2013: Start of Post-Operations Phase

Legal disclaimer
This report is based on the Herschel Mission Manager's report dated 2 October 2012. Please see the copyright section of the legal disclaimer (linked from the home page for terms of use.

Last Update: 1 September 2019
26-Feb-2024 21:25 UT

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