Things are happening at the speed of light! Normal operations commenced
on March 6 when the instruments on-board SORCE began making daily
solar observations. Data are received two times each day through
either the ground station at Wallops Island, Virginia or the station
at Santiago, Chile.
The instruments are performing wonderfully. All instruments are
in normal mode and they are collecting solar data daily. The scientists
and engineers are meticulously reviewing the first preliminary
data products and are very involved in the calibration process.
As expected, each instrument is experiencing its own unique set
of opportunities leading to a greater understanding in many areas.
One step at a time, the instruments and data products are being
fine-tuned to maturity, and the end result will be an incredible
set of solar measurements. Once the instruments are calibrated,
future issues of SNS will feature in-depth information on the
instruments, their data products, and analysis. Below is a brief
summary of the current status of each SORCE instrument.
– Breaking ground in TSI measurements, the TIM instrument
is showing exciting promise. Scientists are working on data processing
algorithms to implement the new phase sensitive detection method.
– As a new invention, engineers and scientists are extremely
pleased with SIM’s progress. Every mechanism and detector
on SIM is functioning as it should, and the SIM team is currently
in the midst of complex instrument calibrations.
– Using the same stars for calibration purposes, the preliminary
SORCE SOLSTICE results are in agreement with the UARS SOLSTICE
– The first XPS measurements coming from SORCE compare very
well with those of the XPS TIMED satellite measurements, which
have been collected since January 2002.
All spacecraft systems are performing exceptionally well. As planned
for this stage of the mission, the spacecraft is in normal mode
with the CEU (Central Electronics Unit) in control and the solar
arrays collecting solar power. The spacecraft is in its nominal
Sun pointing mode.
Operations Center –
The MOC provides the computer hardware and software necessary
to conduct real-time spacecraft operational activities, including
command and control of the satellite, mission planning, and assessment
and maintenance of spacecraft and instrument health. The science
operations from the MOC include experiment planning, data processing
and analysis, validation, and distribution of the finished data
Of course, everyone is excited and anxious to have calibrated
data as soon as possible. Scientists are diligently working through
the data to validate the solar measurements. The data are compared
to similar instruments on other spacecrafts currently collecting
comparable data products. Calibrated data products will begin
to be available in a couple of months.