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The EXOSAT programme reached another milestone, this one unplanned and involuntary, when the ailing attitude control system malfunctioned for the last time on April 9th and the satellite was lost. The end of orbital operations however, does not signal the end of the programme which had its origins in the late 1960s (see Express No-11, June 1985).

As reported in February this year, plans for EXOSAT's 'post operational phase' had been approved and these will now be put into effect. This phase will see the consolidation of the EXOSAT data base and no doubt the most flourishing period of scientific output from the mission. Budgetary provisions have been made within ESA's programme certainly to 1990.

The value of the EXOSAT mission and its data base were repeatedly stressed by speakers at the "Physics of Accretion onto Compact Objects" workshop and reported on elsewhere herein.

As we have reached this latest milestone and we enter a new era as it were, it would be perhaps appropriate to mention and thank those many people who have brought the EXOSAT programme to this point for their industry, effort and dedication over many years which so often can be forgotten in the euphoria of the moment at a scientific gathering. On this occasion I will restrict myself to those under my direct responsibility who are no longer involved in the EXOSAT programme and who have moved in the meantime within ESA or to industry or to external scientific institutes:

The EXOSAT payload group, engineers responsible for the development of the EXOSAT instruments: R. Zobl, K.D. Bock, H. Eggel, R. Giralt and R. Laine. I honestly believe these made arguably the best engineering team in any ESA programme.

The EXOSAT Project Scientist for the hardware phase: R.D. Andresen.

Former EXOSAT Observatory Team members:

    Scientists: R. Blissett, L. Chiappetti, T. Courvoisier, J. Davelaar, E. Gronenschild, G. Manzo, S. Hartin, M. McKay and G. Pollard.


Observatory Controllers/software/data aides:
C. Durham, S. Ernst, P. Ferri, A. Flammia,
M. Gonano, G. Mellor and A. Nota

One person whose name is missing from the above is Dave Andrews. Dave joined the EXOSAT payload group in 1975 with responsibility for instrument assembly integration and testing, for payload software, and instrument test and checkout at satellite level. With the complexity of the instruments and the spacecraft he was, with his intimate experience of the system and personal skills, a natural choice for Observatory Manager, leading the Observatory Team post-launch with responsibility for overall management and the technical side of scientific operations. A per-son of many attributes, perhaps his most significant is his ability to keep his head while others are losing theirs! As of Ist April 1986 he transferred within ESOC to become Ground Segment Manager for ERS-1. We wish him every sucess in his new position. Why did EXOSAT decide to call it quits only nine days after Dave's leaving?

One final remark: with the start up of the new phase, Nick White will take over from Tony Peacock as EXOSAT Project Scientist, and he will lead the Observatory Team staff. Tony will continue to be closely associated with the exploitation of EXOSAT data a new activity which he has taken over recently is that of Project Scientist for the "X-ray cornerstone" programme, often called XMM.

B.G. Taylor
Head of Astrophysics Division,

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