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Herschel Status Report - October 2012

Herschel Status Report - October 2012

Report for period 3 to 26 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.

Regular maintenance of the STR-A star tracker was conducted, which was followed by an update of the STR-A defective pixel table.


Operations for all three instruments, PACS, SPIRE and HIFI, have been nominal during the reporting period. One single event upset (SEU) required a power cycling of the HIFI Local Oscillator Control Unit, but this had no impact on the science observations.

Ground Segment

Ground segment operations have been nominal and 100% of the data continues to be recovered. As of 19 October 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 97%
  First in-flight Open Time, lower priority 5.4%
GT2  Second in-flight Guaranteed Time 93%
OT2 Second in-flight Open Time, priority 1 72%
  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.

A routine station-keeping manoeuvre, or orbit correction manoeuvre, was successfully performed on 12 October. These routine manoeuvres ensure the Herschel 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).

The HIPE Forum, the annual gathering of the Herschel distributed developer community responsible for the upkeep of the ground system and data processing software, took place at ESA's European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC), on 9 to 11 October. The meeting was very successful, also reflecting upon the planned Post-Operations Phase activities. 

Future Milestones

  • 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 26 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
25-Feb-2024 18:41 UT

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