Positive expectations for SM-4

I heard three things in the MSR today that I thought were interesting:

  1. The WFC3 instrument is significantly more power-hungry than WFPC-II, particularly during a safing event, which has significant implications for overall power management on the spacecraft. It is possible that we may not be able to operate NICMOS after SM-4. Since WFC3 has a good IR channel, this would be a loss, but not a great one.
  2. The WFC3 team has decided to swap out an IR detector to get better performance. They’ve built something approaching 200 detectors of varying quality, and the one they’re going to use is a particularly good one, but they’re sensitive to scheduling pressures to be ready next December.
  3. The Cycle boundary between 16 & 17 will be SM-4. Under the current planning date for a launch, this would mean that Cycle 16 would run from July to December of ’07, and Cycle 17 would run from December ’07 to July of ’09. Cycle 16 will not offer COS, WFC3 or STIS; Cycle 17 will. Given the history of launch slips in the shuttle program, this could work out exactly right: SM-4 in June of ’08, so Cycle 17 starts almost as usual on July 1 after SMOV.

There were a number of software issues, including a possible schedule shuffle so that DMS can support doing image multidrizzle right at launch. Rodger is aware that getting ready for SM-4 might require delaying some other work, or adding resources.

So the HST MO, and the HST Project, really are expecting a servicing mission in late ’07 or early ’08. An SM-4 seems like a real thing.


Explore posts in the same categories: Hubble, STScI

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