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30 June 2006 Spitzer pre-launch mission operations system: the road to launch
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Spitzer Space Telescope was launched on 25 August 2003 into an Earth-trailing solar orbit to acquire infrared observations from space. Development of the Mission Operations System (MOS) portion prior to launch was very different from planetary missions from the stand point that the MOS teams and Ground Data System had to be ready to support all aspects of the mission at launch (i.e., no cruise period for finalizing the implementation). For Spitzer, all mission-critical events post launch happen in hours or days rather than months or years, as is traditional with deep space missions. At the end of 2000 the Project was dealt a major blow when the MOS had an unsuccessful Critical Design Review (CDR). The project made major changes at the beginning of 2001 in an effort to get the MOS (and Project) back on track. The result for the Spitzer Space Telescope was a successful launch of the observatory followed by an extremely successful In Orbit Checkout (IOC) and operations phase. This paper describes how the project was able to recover the MOS to a successful Delta (CDR) by mid 2001, and what changes in philosophies, experiences, and lessons learned followed. It describes how projects must invest early or else invest heavily later in the development phase to achieve a successful operations phase.
© (2006) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Charles P. Scott and Robert K. Wilson "Spitzer pre-launch mission operations system: the road to launch", Proc. SPIE 6270, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems, 627013 (30 June 2006);


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