Experimental Astronomy

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 453–479

The pointing system of the Herschel space observatory

Description, Calibration, Performance and improvements
  • Miguel Sánchez-Portal
  • Anthony Marston
  • Bruno Altieri
  • Hervé Aussel
  • Helmut Feuchtgruber
  • Ulrich Klaas
  • Hendrik Linz
  • Dieter Lutz
  • Bruno Merín
  • Thomas Müller
  • Markus Nielbock
  • Marc Oort
  • Göran Pilbratt
  • Micha Schmidt
  • Craig Stephenson
  • Mark Tuttlebee
  • The Herschel Pointing Working Group
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10686-014-9396-z

Cite this article as:
Sánchez-Portal, M., Marston, A., Altieri, B. et al. Exp Astron (2014) 37: 453. doi:10.1007/s10686-014-9396-z

Abstract

We present the activities carried out to calibrate and characterise the performance of the elements of attitude control and measurement on board the Herschel spacecraft. The main calibration parameters and the evolution of the indicators of the pointing performance are described, from the initial values derived from the observations carried out in the performance verification phase to those attained in the last year and half of mission, an absolute pointing error around or even below 1 arcsec, a spatial relative pointing error of some 1 arcsec and a pointing stability below 0.2 arsec. The actions carried out at the ground segment to improve the spacecraft pointing measurements are outlined. On-going and future developments towards a final refinement of the Herschel astrometry are also summarised. A brief description of the different components of the attitude control and measurement system (both in the space and in the ground segments) is also given for reference. We stress the importance of the cooperation between the different actors (scientists, flight dynamics and systems engineers, attitude control and measurement hardware designers, star-tracker manufacturers, etc.) to attain the final level of performance.

Keywords

Herschel space observatorySpacecraftPointingAlignmentCalibrationPerformance

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miguel Sánchez-Portal
    • 1
  • Anthony Marston
    • 2
  • Bruno Altieri
    • 2
  • Hervé Aussel
    • 3
  • Helmut Feuchtgruber
    • 4
  • Ulrich Klaas
    • 5
  • Hendrik Linz
    • 5
  • Dieter Lutz
    • 4
  • Bruno Merín
    • 2
  • Thomas Müller
    • 4
  • Markus Nielbock
    • 5
  • Marc Oort
    • 6
  • Göran Pilbratt
    • 7
  • Micha Schmidt
    • 8
  • Craig Stephenson
    • 9
  • Mark Tuttlebee
    • 10
  • The Herschel Pointing Working Group
  1. 1.ISDEFE for ESA, Herschel Science Centre, European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC)Villanueva de la CañadaMadridSpain
  2. 2.Herschel Science Centre, European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC)/ESAVillanueva de la CañadaMadridSpain
  3. 3.CNRS/Service d’AstrophysiqueGif-sur-YvetteFrance
  4. 4.Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische PhysikGarchingGermany
  5. 5.Max-Planck-Institut für AstronomieHeidelbergGermany
  6. 6.Dutch Space B.V.LeidenThe Netherlands
  7. 7.ESA Astrophysics Missions Div./Research and Scientific Support Dept.ESTEC/SRE-SANoordwijkThe Netherlands
  8. 8.European Space Operations Centre (ESOC)/ESADarmstadtGermany
  9. 9.Telespazio Vega for ESA, Herschel Science Centre, European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC)Villanueva de la CañadaMadridSpain
  10. 10.SCISYS for ESA, ESOCDarmstadtGermany