19-20 May 2009 (L+5-L+6, DOY 139-140)
Herschel Switches On the First Science Instrument
Over the course of the last two days, the first instrument on Herschel has been successfully switched on. This is the SPIRE instrument, which has both a photometer and a FTS spectrometer. The full arrays were able to be switched on in both cases and all looked exactly as on the ground -- and possibly a bit better. No pixels in any of the arrays were lost. The original intention was to not attempt a full turn-on of the spectrometer, but the temperature conditions were suitable and the SPIRE team took advantage of this to check out the spectrometer at an early stage. Also tested were SPIRE's beam steering mirror, used for dithering or jiggling targets on the bolometer arrays, and the FTS spectrometer mechanism. All tests were successful.
SPIRE has further testing over the next few days before the other two instruments, PACS and HIFI are switched on -- on Sunday night.
Congratulations to SPIRE on their success so far!
[T. Marston from MOC ESOC, posted 21 May 2009]