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Mission Status Report #86      Star Date: May 5, 2005

Round 2 of Testing About to Begin

Caption:Visitors to the 2nd Annual Physics Fair at JHU enjoy the colorful effects of "grating glasses" at the FUSE atomic physics demonstration (April 30, 2005). (Photo by Bill Blair, FUSE project, JHU.)

(Click image above to see larger version.)

The FUSE satellite has made steady progress toward the return to science operations over the last few weeks, after the hiatus caused by a reaction wheel failure in December 2004. (See Status Report #83.) At the moment, FUSE is parked in a safe mode, allowing the team to concentrate on development issues, but this is about to change!

Since the last report, there have been several significant events, although they have been mostly in the background to those not directly involved with the project. Firstly, the new control software has been modified to work properly with less than a full complement of gyroscopes. The previous FUSE control system (prior to December) already worked properly with less than three gyros, but the new mode of operating with a single reaction wheel required some modifications. This has now been accomplished. Also, some of the early lessons learned by operating in one-wheel mode for three weeks (from late March to mid-April 2005) have now been analyzed and incorporated into revised control system software. This software has been tested in ground simulations and is now ready to get uplinked for a test drive on the real satellite. If all goes well, we should be bringing FUSE back online again for testing next week. Stay tuned for updates.

On another front, the pictures above and below highlight a very different significant event that the project has supported. The 2nd Annual JHU Physics Fair was held on Saturday April 30, 2005. It was a rainy, dark, chilly day in Baltimore, but we still drew about 500 people into the Bloomberg Center for Physics and Astronomy for a broad range of events and demonstrations. The FUSE group hosted an "atomic physics" demo, with gas discharge tubes and gratings to communicate several basic but important concepts that are important to what FUSE does. Many folks learned about different kinds of light (including ultraviolet!), the basics of spectroscopy, and how the FUSE satellite works. It was a fun day, and numerous FUSE team members supported the event. Thanks to all!

Caption:"Dr. Spectrum" (Bill Blair) gets into the spirit at the 2nd Annual Physics Fair at JHU (April 30, 2005). (Photo by Ravi Sankrit, FUSE project, JHU.)

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, for their tremendous effort so far, and for their ongoing efforts as we improve the new control system.

Reported by: Bill Blair, FUSE Chief of Observatory Operations

Last Update: May 5, 2005

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