A major milestone was passed on October 12 when FUSE was carefully installed in a large thermal-vacuum chamber at NASA/Goddard. The following day the collimator assembly was positioned on top of the satellite. This device contains the light sources and optics which will illuminate FUSE with ultraviolet light during tests in the vacuum chamber over the next couple of months. We initially had some trouble with lamp failures, but we now have four working Pt-Ne emission lamps in the collimator assembly. These will provide UV spectra down to the cutoff wavelength of their LiF windows at about 1050 Å.
Another Instrument Baseline Acceptance Test (IBAT) is scheduled for the evening of Oct. 15. In this test several orbits of simulated observations are commanded from the Satellite Control Center (SCC) at JHU. The Comprehensive Performance Test (CPT) is scheduled to begin the next day, and is expected to take about 8 days. This will be followed by a Mission Simulation test. Upon successful completion of this test, final preparations for pumpdown are made, followed by the pumpdown itself, which will take several days. At that point, we will be able to observe actual UV spectra with the FUSE detectors for the first time since last February!
Exciting times ahead! Stay tuned.
Reported by: Scott Friedman
Photo: FUSE at NASA/GSFC.
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