Status of Suzaku
2012 August 3
The power output of the solar panels on-board Suzaku has been degrading more or less as predicted during the >7 years in orbit. Recently, it has reached a level at which operations are being affected. As a countermeasure, all non-critical hardware has been turned off, or will be shortly. The observing window has been reduced from Sun angle range of 65-110 deg to 70-110 deg, and further adjustments may become necessary.
Even with these countermeasures, the continued degradation is expected to reach a critical level probably sometime during the remainder of the AO-7 period (Apr 2012-Mar 2013). At that point, the next step will be to partially turn off the science instruments.
The Suzaku team still intends to issue an AO-8 call for proposals for observations beyond April 2013, with a proposal deadline of Friday, November 16. However, changes will be made in the parameters of allowed proposals given the current situation. The call for proposals will be released on or around October 1, reflecting the most up-to-date status of Suzaku and the extrapolated performance available at that time.
The team continues to study the situation carefully and adopt any and all countermeasures to keep Suzaku operational for as long as possible.
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