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Kepler Mission Manager Update

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Thu Oct 15, 2009 5:59 am via: source
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(NASA) – It has now been five months since Kepler science operations began. The Kepler spacecraft continues in its drift-away, heliocentric orbit, and continues in its science data collecting attitude.

The Kepler team is approaching another monthly download of science data. The next scheduled download is planned for Oct. 17-19, 2009. Further analysis had been completed on the Safing events that Kepler experienced on June 15, 2009, and July 2, 2009.

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The cause has been further isolated to a low voltage power supply, whose upsets cause the central RAD750 processor to reset. The resets were not caused by any problem with the RAD750 processor unit itself.

Last week, the team performed two semi-weekly spacecraft contacts. This “engineering” contact utilizes the vehicle’s X-Band transmitter and the omni-directional antennas to give us a relatively low bandwidth connection (typically ranging from 2 to 8 kbps).

Although insufficient to downlink the extensive science data being collected and stored onboard, this connection has the benefit that we do not have to leave the science attitude and hence can continue to collect science data as the operations team checks out the vehicle.

These contacts typically last about 8 hours, during which time onboard logs are downlinked, along with a small portion of the science targets that have been chosen to give us a quick look at the instrument performance in case any adjustments need to be made. These contacts also give us the opportunity to upload new command sequences, software patches or parameter updates, if required.

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