Mission Status Report #100 Star Date: February 15, 2007
FUSE Operations Continue Smoothly!
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 to date, with many other stars still awaiting their turn in the FUSE limelight. (Graphic courtesy NASA and Lauren Fowler, the JHU FUSE project.)
This issue of the status report marks a milestone of sorts...the 100th status report of the FUSE mission! There were times over the last 7+ years where our reaching this milestone was gravely in doubt, but I am happy to report that FUSE is alive and well, and still churning out the science!
As has long been our pattern in FUSE operations, we have continued to develop enhanced capabilities even as the observations are ongoing. We are about to load one last update of our attitude control software to FUSE, including all of the improvements we have been able to muster from the last year and a half of experience with the one-wheel control mode. Also, we have begun a test program to develop some capability to observe in parts of the sky that have been "off limits" since with last wheel problem in December 2005. Early results are encouraging. While the capability will likely be modest, certain high priority observations should be possible later this year.
Since the last report, NASA has announced the selection of a new set of observations for Cycle 8 of the FUSE Guest Investigators program. Successful proposers were informed in early January, and we are expecting inputs with the detailed observing plans by Friday, February 23, 2007. We look forward to getting these new observations into the planning system so we can keep the observatory busy over the coming months.
FUSE was once again well represented at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle this past January. We also hosted a Splinter Session in Seattle to discuss with the community ideas about how to best use the observatory in a (currently hypothetical) extended phase of operations beyond September 2008 (our current end date). Assuming the satellite is still operational at that time, the general concept would be to find ways to operate with dramatically reduced costs, and perform specialized, high priority science programs only. Inputs from the community on this concept are welcomed.
I offer continued thanks to all of the FUSE Sciences Operations team, including our partners on the Mission Operations Team from Honeywell Technology Solutions, Inc., and our colleagues at Orbital Sciences Corporation, as well as the JHU operations staff, for their ongoing efforts as we continue to improve FUSE operations.
Reported by: Bill Blair, FUSE Chief of Observatory Operations
Last Update: February 15, 2007
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