Mission Status Report #69 Star Date: June 23, 2003
FUSE Completes Four Years in Orbit!
Caption: Graphic showing how FUSE would look on-orbit. The telescopes are looking toward the upper right in this picture, and only two of the four telescope doors are visible from this angle. The blue rectangles represent the solar panels, which connect to the spacecraft at the bottom. (Figure courtesy NASA and the FUSE project.)
June 24th marks the 4-year launch anniversary for FUSE! The FUSE satellite was launched on a Delta-II expendable launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 11:44 a.m. EDT. To celebrate this anniversary, we provide a "walk down memory lane." Visit the FUSE Gallery for launch day pictures and the FUSE ONLINE page to see press-release and links to articles. for a retrospective of launch day, from launch press coverage to pictures from KSC and JHU, and even a video of launch!
In other news, our revised flight software load to FUSE, which began on April 16, 2003 (as reported in a previous status report) is now complete. This new FUSE control software will allow us to operate FUSE even as our laser-ring gyroscopes continue to age and fail. Although 5 out of 6 gyros are still operational, all remaining gyros show signs of "age" and additional failures could occur without warning. The new flight software senses these problems when they occur and automatically compensates for any missing gyros. It should be a long time before this happens in reality, but if need be, the new system will work without ANY gyros in the control loop! (We know--we tested it this way and it works!) This says a lot not only about the ingenuity and creativity of our engineers, but about our ability to operate FUSE well into the future.
Speaking of the future, NASA is nearing the release of the Call for a new round of proposals, Cycle 5. Details will be posted soon at the FUSE GI Support Site [link no longer active].
It has been an exciting four years. There have been many ups and downs, but the FUSE project appears poised to continue smooth operations into the Extended Mission phase of the project. Thanks to all who help run the project, and to our user community who continue to pump out an astounding array of scientific results from "the little satellite that could!"
Reported by: Bill Blair, Chief of Observatory Operations
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