Mission Status Report #48 Star Date: July 18, 2001
Caption: Photos of two targets observed recently with FUSE. (Left) Mars near closest approach to earth, as observed with HST. (Right) Comet LINEAR A2 (Photo credit and copyright: Gordon Garradd.
(Click image above to see larger version.)
As we breezed past the two year's on orbit mark in late June, all continues to go extremely well on the FUSE project. The last month has been largely devoted to normal science operations, with observations for a whole host of programs being executed successfully on the spacecraft for both Guest Investigators and the PI Science team. Two of the more challenging programs from the operations standpoint have included an observation of Mars near it's closest approach to earth and an observation of a bright comet, C2001/A2 LINEAR, visible over the last several months. As time marches on, the fraction of observing time available to Guest Investigators has increased to the point that most weeks now contain a larger fraction of Guest Investigator observing time than for the PI team. This trend will continue through the rest of Cycle 2 and Cycle 3 (which will begin in December of this year) until the entire mission will be devoted to carrying out observations requested by Guest Investigators selected by NASA.
Speaking of Cycle 3, the selection process for proposals is well underway. The proposals are being reviewed now for technical feasibility and NASA will convene panels of specialists in about a month to start the selection process. Results should be announced by early September.
Operations on IRU-B continue smoothly after the gyro problem mentioned in the previous report. Behind the scenes, much work continues on contingency plans to support the eventual need to operate FUSE without all of its gyros, should that eventuality ever occur. But in the mean time, we do not expect ongoing operations to be affected.
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Reported by: Bill Blair, Chief of Observatory Operations
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