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Spitzer Space Telescope: Innovations and Optimizations in the Extended Mission Era

Lowrance, Patrick J. and Ingalls, James G. and Krick, Jessica E. and Mahoney, William and Glaccum, William and Carey, Sean J. and Scire, Elena and Furlan, Elise and Mei, Yi and Hunt, Joseph C., Jr. and Kahr, Bolinda and Stowers, Kennis and Bliss, David and Evenson, Wayne and Travis, Paul and Haas, Patrick (2018) Spitzer Space Telescope: Innovations and Optimizations in the Extended Mission Era. In: 2018 SpaceOps Conference. American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics , Reston, VA, Art. No. 2018-2350. ISBN 978-1-62410-562-3.

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NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope continues to operate well past its original cryogenic mission concept (2003-2009), executing both a follow-on “Warm” mission (2009-2016) and the current “Beyond” (2016-present) mission phase. As Spitzer’s unique Earth-trailing orbit carries it ever further from us (now surpassing 1.6 astronomical unit), its orbital geometry provides challenges to all operational teams. Nevertheless, the combined efforts of the geographically dispersed Spitzer teams ensure that the observatory’s instrumental and observational capabilities remain either undiminished or improved, and the high overall science data collection efficiency remains nearly unchanged. In this contribution, we outline several operational changes, innovations, and optimizations that have both minimized the impact of the growing distance on data transmission and enhanced the precision of data acquired by the science instruments. Though faced with diminishing budgetary resources that reduced staffing and allowed fewer upgrades of aging equipment, extended mission operations can provide an opportunity to acquire extensive science at bargain prices. The spacecraft, ground, and mission operations systems and procedures to perform the extended mission are already in place from the prime mission. The key to maintaining successful extended operations is the proper automation, modification and process enhancement of extant prime mission capabilities and procedures to maximize science return with acceptable risk as opposed to the creation of new capabilities. Spitzer’s successful optimization of existing operational capabilities and the associated lessons learned that have gone into maximizing the lifetime well into its second decade of operation will hopefully provide guidelines for future missions, as it continues to make important contributions to the field of astrophysics, including the recent, highly significant discovery and characterization of exoplanets in the TRAPPIST-1 system.

Item Type:Book Section
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URLURL TypeDescription
Lowrance, Patrick J.0000-0001-8014-0270
Ingalls, James G.0000-0003-4714-1364
Carey, Sean J.0000-0002-0221-6871
Furlan, Elise0000-0001-9800-6248
Additional Information:© 2018 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc. The U.S. Government has a royalty-free license to exercise all rights under the copyright claimed herein for Governmental purposes. This paper is based on work with the Spitzer Space Telescope carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
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AIAA Paper2018-2350
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190821-090134562
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Official Citation:Spitzer Space Telescope: Innovations and Optimizations in the Extended Mission Era Patrick Lowrance, Jim Ingals, Jessica Krick, Bill Glaccum, Sean Carey, William Mahoney, Elena Scire, Elise Furlan, Yi Mei, Joseph C. Hunt, Bolinda Kahr, Kennis Stowers, David A. Bliss, Patrick Haas, Paul A. Travis, and Wayne Evenson 2018 SpaceOps Conference. May 2018.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:98066
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:21 Aug 2019 16:16
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:36

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