Herschel Status Report - April 2011
20 Apr 2011 15:23
Report for period 16 March to 15 April 2011
Mission 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 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:
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.
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.