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PROBA2 mission extension

Good news! On November 18, the ESA Science Programme Committee has approved the extension of PROBA2 operations until the end of 2012. SWAP and LYRA data will be scientifically exploited for at least one year longer than originally planned. This gives the science team at ROB an extra boost to proof the science excellence of these 2 instruments in the following years. Read more in the ESA article online.

PROBA2 eclipse season 2010 has started

The eclipse season has started for PROBA2, although not in all channels/instruments yet. Every winter, the solar (E/X)UV signals SWAP and LYRA observe are obscured by the Earth and Earth’s atmosphere. Earlier this week, we saw the first effects of the filtering by the Earth’s atmosphere in the two short-wavelength LYRA channels: Al and Zr. The long wavelength channels, neither SWAP show any effect yet but this will come very soon, later this week.

SWAP Bake-out campaign

From October 12 10:30 till October 13 10:30 SWAP was in a so-called bake-out campaign with the telescope detector heated to 50C. In previous months, the sensitivity of the detector was slowly degrading (in the order of few %) . With the current bake-out campaign we attempt to reverse this degradation. The detector heating can possibly evaporate condensation from the detector or annihilate radiation induced crystal defects in the silicon of the detector. Future analysis will reveal if the bake-out campaign indeed has a positive effect.

Four eclipses in one day

On July 11, 2010, a total solar eclipse took place which on Earth could only be seen from the South Pacific Ocean and Easter Island. From the dawn-dusk orbit in which PROBA2 resides, the totality could not be seen, but the spacecraft did cross the lunar shadow path four times. As a result, SWAP and LYRA registered four partial eclipses in five hours time. Enjoy the spectacle in the SWAP movie below.

PROBA2 workshop at ESA/ESTEC

On June 22, 2010, a PROBA2 workshop took place at ESA/ESTEC to review the status of the spacecraft, onboard technology demonstrators and instruments after 8 months in space.

Several colleagues of the PROBA2 Science Center participated and presented SWAP, LYRA and the Science Center located at the Royal Observatory in Belgium.

This event attracted the following press attention:

Anik De Groof's picture

Progress of SWAP commissioning

PROBA2 was launched on November 2, 2009 and SWAP opened its door on December 14. From then on, to March 2010, we were in the so-called commissioning phase in which every subsystem of the telescope, its electronics and its software is critically tested. Meanwhile thousands of images have been brought to the ground and handled by the PROBA2 Science Center. In this article we give a brief overview of all the fun we had in the first 7 weeks of commissioning.

Anik De Groof's picture

PROBA2 Press Event (26 January 2010)

Packed with novel devices and science instruments, PROBA2 is demonstrating technologies for future ESA missions while providing new views of our Sun. At a press conference on Tuesday January, 26 at the Royal Observatory of Belgium in Brussels, the team behind the small satellite declared themselves extremely happy with its first three months in orbit and unveiled PROBA2’s first solar observations.

Anik De Groof's picture

PROBA2 witnesses a solar eclipse

People across Africa and Asia marvelled at the solar eclipse that took place on 15 January. At the same time it was being recorded from orbit – by ESA’s Sun-watching PROBA2.

SWAP First Light!

The P2SC team is very excited to announce that on 14 December 2009 the door of the SWAP telescope onboard PROBA2 was opened successfully. The first solar images confirmed that the detector and filters are working fine. During the Christmas holidays the SWAP instrument is put in storage. Early January, the procedure will start to open the LYRA covers as well.

Details about the first results of PROBA2 will be given during a press event on the 26th of January 2010 at the Royal Observatory of Belgium.

 

PROBA2 Passes First Health Checks

During its second week in orbit, ESA confirms that all systems are operating as expected. Shortly after establishing its orbit, PROBA2 was able to stabilize itself using an on-board magnetometer, and, more recently fired up the star-tracking cameras that the spacecraft will use to autonomously orient itself in space.

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