Notices
Results 1 to 19 of 19

Thread: Herschel Space Observatory Newsletter

  1. #1 Herschel Space Observatory Newsletter 
    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Heidelberg, Germany
    Posts
    1,624
    The Herschel Space Observatory has been declared ready for launch last week. The last technical tests have finished after the satellite was sent to Kourou Space Port on 12th February via an Antonov plane. I have been there myself involved in testing and watching the Ariane 5 being prepared for the integration of Herschel and Planck. So, everything seemed fine and on track for the launch on 16th April. Today, there was an announcement that the launch will be delayed anyway until 29th April. The reason seems to be the so called "ground segment", i.e. the part that includes data receiving and processing from the spacecraft. It was said, that not all necessary flight information and procedures were sent to mission control on time.


    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2  
    Forum Masters Degree Numsgil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    708
    Ooh, someone dropped the ball on that one. It probably costs them millions to delay like that.


    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Heidelberg, Germany
    Posts
    1,624
    I decided to change this thread into a newsletter on the Herschel Space Observatory. Although there are a few ESA webpages with news about that project, they are pretty scarce. I can provide some more insight into what is happening at the moment for those who are interested.

    Today, we reached an announcement from the project scientist that Herschel was moved to the next facility at Kourou Space Port to begin filling with hydrazine propellant on 1st and 2nd April. Topping up with liquid helium will start on 4th April and final cool down will last until 13th April. Will be transported to the final assembly building on 17th April to be merged with the already prepared Ariane 5 ECA rocket which should be done on 25th April. The foreseen launch date is still the 29th April at 13:23 GMT (tbc). All mission preparations have been changed and aligned to that launch date.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4  
    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Heidelberg, Germany
    Posts
    1,624
    It seems, there will be another launch delay.

    http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEM6Q4EH1TF_index_0.html
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5  
    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Heidelberg, Germany
    Posts
    1,624
    It has been finally agreed that the launch will be delayed until 6th May 2009. It looks like all obstacles have been removed.

    http://herschel.esac.esa.int/latest_news.shtml

    Herschel is being filled up with hydrazine and topped up with liquid helium.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #6  
    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Heidelberg, Germany
    Posts
    1,624
    They have just agreed on a launch on 6th May, but there is yet another delay ... damned, it looks as if this project is cursed.

    Now it is Arianespace that calls for a launch delay. Apparently, some tests on elements of the upper rocket stage have shown unexpected results. Looks like they are now going to thoroughly inspect the rocket first.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #7  
    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Heidelberg, Germany
    Posts
    1,624
    New launch date set to

    14th May 2009, 13:12 UT (GMT). Hope it's for real now.

    Current status at the following links:

    http://www.arianespace.com/news-miss...e/2009/588.asp
    http://herschel.esac.esa.int/latest_news.shtml
    http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/are...cfm?fareaid=16
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #8  
    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Heidelberg, Germany
    Posts
    1,624
    Latest news from daily report:

    - Fairing integration scheduled for Sunday, 10th May 2009.
    - Launcher roll-out to launch pad on Wednesday, 13th May 2009.
    - Herschel / Planck Launch on Thursday, 14 May 2009 @13:12:00 (UTC)
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #9  
    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Heidelberg, Germany
    Posts
    1,624
    Only two more days until the launch scheduled for 14th May 2009, 13:12 h UT. Live coverage of the launch can be followed on the Arianespace webcast:
    http://www.videocorner.tv

    Current status:
    - Fairing integration successfully performed on Sunday, 10th May 2009
    - Helium tank conditions at fairing integration: filling level: 96.6 %; tank temperature: 1.638 K
    - Shield flushing continues through small holes in the fairing until a few hours prior to launcher roll out
    - Launcher roll-out to launch pad on Wednesday, 13th May 2009 @11:40 (UTC) = 8:40 Kourou-time
    - Herschel / Planck Launch on Thursday, 14 May 2009 @13:12 (UTC) = 10:12 Kourou-time
    Reply With Quote  
     

  11. #10  
    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Heidelberg, Germany
    Posts
    1,624
    The Ariane 5 ECA rocket was rolled out to the launch pad yesterday.

    http://herschel.esac.esa.int/latest_news.shtml

    The launch will take place today at 13:12 h GMT (UT). The live coverage will be available as a webcast from Arianespace

    http://www.videocorner.tv/

    and via satellite:

    Atlantic Bird 3 @ 5degW. Transponder KA7, Channel GCPE2, Horizontal, D/link freq 12,543.0 MHz, S/R 27.5 Ms/s, FEC 3/4, MPEG2 4:2:0 PAL
    09:00 - 15:15 GMT

    Keep fingers crossed!
    Reply With Quote  
     

  12. #11  
    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Heidelberg, Germany
    Posts
    1,624
    And we have a lift-off. It was a perfect launch yesterday, 14th May 2009, at 13:12 GMT. All separations (Herschel and Planck) worked as planned. Radio contact to both spacecraft was established about 30 minutes after the launch.

    http://herschel.esac.esa.int/latest_news.shtml



    They are now on their way to the Lagrangian point 2, 1.5 Mio km from Earth. First switch-on of Herschel's instruments SPIRE and HIFI will commence on OD (operational day) 10, PACS will be switched on one day later, on 24th May. Tests to be executed on the same day will tell us, if the instruments are in a good shape.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  13. #12  
    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Heidelberg, Germany
    Posts
    1,624
    The first instrument on board Herschel has been switched on today. SPIRE is sending telemetry to the ground station. The initial basic tests will continue during the next few days. PACS will follow Sunday.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  14. #13  
    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Heidelberg, Germany
    Posts
    1,624
    After SPIRE, PACS was successfully switched on today, and the first functional tests of the electronics, mechanisms and detectors delivered very good results. Everything looked as expected. HIFI, the last of the three instruments, will follow tonight.

    The only minor thing that looked a bit different than anticipated was the impact rate of cosmic radiation particles. But it decreased already considerably since the SPIRE tests. It seems that Herschel is still in the tail of the Earth's magnetic belt, and things will be better as soon Herschel approaches its final orbit.

    Edit: In the meantime, also HIFI was successfully switched on and passed its first tests in space. Looks like, we have real telescope.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  15. #14  
    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Heidelberg, Germany
    Posts
    1,624
    The cryo cover was successfully opened yesterday. This is the lid that protected the interior of the cryostat that hosts the three instruments. First functional tests showed that light is entering the instruments. So, we have a real observatory now. For more details, you can look at:
    http://herschel.esac.esa.int/operations_log.shtml
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8099105.stm

    Note that the BBC article incorrectly mentions pyrotechnical devices. This is not true. The release mechanism was realised by a latch and springs, as you can see in video of the first link.

    A sneak preview on real stellar targets is running, and the results might be presented at the air show at Le Bourget in Paris this week. However, there is no guarantee for success, because the detectors are not properly tuned yet. This is, why we don't call it "first light".
    Reply With Quote  
     

  16. #15  
    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Heidelberg, Germany
    Posts
    1,624
    First overwhelming images with Herschel and the PACS instrument.

    http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEM76A0P0WF_index_0.html
    Reply With Quote  
     

  17. #16  
    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Heidelberg, Germany
    Posts
    1,624
    Another impressive press release on the latest Herschel Space Observatory results:
    http://herschel.esac.esa.int/FirstSpectro.shtml

    More news:
    http://herschel.esac.esa.int/latest_news.shtml
    Reply With Quote  
     

  18. #17  
    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Heidelberg, Germany
    Posts
    1,624
    Observers will meet at ESA near Madrid next week in order to be informed about the latest status of the telescope, and be taught to work on their scientific data. The conference will be concluded with a "First Scientific Results" meeting, where the first results will be presented. Press releases will be based on these presentations.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  19. #18  
    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Heidelberg, Germany
    Posts
    1,624
    The presentations of the first results are online for download:"First Scientific Results" meeting
    Reply With Quote  
     

  20. #19  
    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Heidelberg, Germany
    Posts
    1,624
    A large international conference is held in Noordwijk, Netherlands, this week with more than 400 participants that present the first consolidated results derived from observations done with the Herschel Space Telescope.
    http://www.congrex.nl/10A10/

    A small movie celebrating the anniversary of one year after the launch of that telescope is available at:
    http://esatv-movies.e-vision.nl/vide...-10_wmplow.wmv
    Reply With Quote  
     

Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •