A super-nice update sent in today by Integral Operations Manager Richard Southworth at ESOC. Read our previous post for background on what’s happening with Integral this month and next.

“The performance of the second manoeuvre on 24 January was perfect; we are now exactly where we want to be in terms of orbit.”

The third burn will take place on 4 February, centred around 15:23 GMT (16:23 CET), which aims to place us in an orbit with a period of 2 days 16 hours (compared to the 3-day orbit we had for the first 12 years of the mission).

Depending on the exact performance of the 3rd delta-V, a fourth ‘mini burn’ may be necessary to adjust the orbit to ensure optimal ground station coverage from Kiruna; if necessary, this would take place on 12 February.

INTEGRAL Picture Of the Month January 2015

The radio and X-ray connection in INTEGRAL Active Galactic Nuclei Credit: ESA/APOD

Following all the manoeuvre activities, a calibration exercise will be executed; note that these disposal manoeuvres have changed the mass of the satellite by about 50kg (that’s the mass of the fuel expended) and the centre of mass has also moved. In order to ensure that we can continue to manoeuvre the satellite accurately and efficiently, we need to re-calibrate our flight dynamics models.

“Some fine tuning of the science operations to adjust to the new orbit will take place over the next few weeks, but starting in late February, operations will revert back to routine.”

Read more details via the Integral website in ESA Science:

Note: The Integral Picture of the Month for February at this URL will illustrate the change in orbit