FUSE Mission Status Report

Mission Status Report #13      Star Date: August 5, 1999

Mission Status Reports on the web page will occur when news-worthy events occur (but at least weekly!) for the time being.

-- Bill Blair

The Satellite Control Center at JHU.

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FUSE In-Orbit Checkout Continues

The FUSE Satellite Control Center (SCC) has been a busy place during the last week, as checkout of the satellite and telescope continued. The FUSE satellite remains healthy and the In-Orbit Checkout phase is still very much in progress. Thermal control still has the satellite in "bake-out" mode to drive any trapped gases out of the structure, but ramp down to operational temperatures is scheduled for this coming weekend. The remaining three telescope (baffle) doors have just been opened as well, and the second guide camera (Fine Error Sensor) is slated for checkout this weekend. All of this is in preparation for what we hope will be our first ramp-up of high voltage on one of the spectrographic detectors toward the end of next week!

The past week has seen a number of steps forward as well as some annoying problems that have affected the pace of checkout. Firstly, we have missed several ground station passes (where we contact and command the satellite directly) for unexpected reasons. While we can work around these instances, it is very distruptive to the planned schedule of activities. Also, we have seen several "lock-ups" in the guide camera we are using for acquisition testing. Again, a reboot seems to fix the problem, but these occurrences are very disruptive to schedule.

Now for some good news: the situation with target acquisitions has improved considerably since the difficulties described in last week's report. The "double star ID" technique has proven to be a reliable way to reach the condition of "tracking on known stars", a necessary step in target acquisitions. Furthermore, a workaround has been diagnosed and tested that should be faster and more reliable method of achieving known track, and is scheduled for testing on the satellite itself early next week. Other tests in preparation for telescope focus and alignment activities are scheduled between now and the detector high voltage turn-on. So the bottom line is, we're getting there!

An aspect of this IOC period that you don't hear much about is the "human" side. It's taken an incredible amount of hard work by a whole host of dedicated scientists, engineers, and technical staff to get to this point, which has created not only a lot of tired people, but also a real "team" feeling to the effort! Thanks to all of you who have worked so hard, are continuing to work hard, or are supporting those folks in one way or another!

Reported by: Bill Blair, Chief of Mission Planning

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