Mission Status Report #110 Star Date: September 24, 2007
FUSE Enters Close-out Phase
Caption: The FUSE satellite is seen superimposed on an optical image of the nearby galaxy known as the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. At a distance of only 170,000 light years, the Large Magellanic Cloud is of intense in this galaxy have been observed with FUSE since 1999. (Graphic courtesy NASA and Lauren Fowler, the JHU FUSE project.)
Dear FUSE Community,
As discussed in my last status report, the FUSE satellite has terminated normal science operations due to the failure of our last operational reaction wheel. The project is now officially in a "close-out" phase that will last approximately one year. As of now, the satellite itself is being maintained in a safe configuration. The science detectors remain "on," and we have been taking various end-of-mission calibration data sets. We have also squeezed out one last science program, that being a down-looking airglow program to observe the earth's atmosphere in the far-ultraviolet. In a month or less from now, we expect to complete the on-orbit operations, and we will then unceremoniously turn off our wonderful satellite. It will become just another piece of space junk at that point, circling the earth every 100 minutes for the next 30 years or so, until it ultimately re-enters the atmosphere.
We have a number of important tasks to do over the coming months to complete the close-out the mission, write various reports, and document the many lessons learned over the years as we have worked to get the most science we possibly could out of the FUSE satellite. Our most important job is the final reprocessing and archiving of the FUSE data, with accompanying documentation for future users of these data who may not have participated in the mission itself. It is this science archive that will form the lasting legacy of the FUSE mission. With no other missions similar to FUSE on the drawing boards at this point, this archive will have to suffice for astronomers for the foreseeable future.
Reported by: Bill Blair, FUSE Chief of Observatory Operations
Last Update: September 24, 2007
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