Canada's contributions to the SPIRE project are funded through the Space Science Program of the Canadian Space Agency.
A set of Canadian contributions to SPIRE have been defined in the Memorandum of Understanding between the Canaduan Space Agency, the SPIRE project, and the University of Lethbridge. These contributions are:
- An FTS for the SPIRE Test Facility
- SPIRE data analysis software
- Support for the SPIRE Instrument Test Team (ITT)
- Support for the SPIRE Instrument Control Centre (ICC)
The test facility at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Oxfordshire, UK required a Far Infrared Spectrometer (FIR FTS) to characterize the SPIRE pre-flight models. Dr Naylor's SPIRE group at the University of Lethbridge designed, assembled tested, and delivered the SPIRE Test Facility FTS in late August 2003.
The SPIRE consortium, through the activities of the instrument test team (ITT) and the Instrument Control Centre (ICC) team, will develop the SPIRE data analysis software. This software is used for instrument testing, performance verificaiton, and routine operations. Canada provided the data analysis software for the SPIRE FTS.
The SPIRE ITT is notoriously understaffed. Canada contributes staff to the ITT effort. Provision of skilled personnel to the instrument test and calibration activities is beneficial to the individuals involved, to the project as a whole, and to Canada in particular through the acquisition of detailed knowledge of the instrument behaviour.
Herschel is an ESA observatory-class mission. This mission concept places an additional requirement on the instrument teams to provide the Instrument Control Centres (ICCs). The ICC for SPIRE will be based at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL), Oxon., UK. The functions of the ICC include:
- provision of observing time estimators for proposal preparation by the community
- provision of instrument-specific documentation (Observer's Handbooks, Data User's Manuals)
- translation of accepted proposals into instrument commands
- processing of all instrument data through standard algorithms into scientifically useful, standard data products
- monitoring health and status of the instrument
- monitoring engineering and scientific performance of the instrument
- scheduling test and calibration observations
- adjusting observational and operational procedures
- provision of calibration and analysis tools
The core staff for the SPIRE ICC will be provided by RAL but additional staff will be seconded from the various SPIRE institutes in order to concentrate, in one location, expertise in various aspects of the instrument design and operation.
It is to the credit of Dr. Gary Davis that Canada got involved in the SPIRE project in the first place. He brought up and implemented the idea of a cooperation between the Canadian and European Space Agencies in the SPIRE project. In November 1999, the JSSA recommended formally that Canada join the SPIRE project. Two Canadian contributions to SPIRE were identified in the original proposal:
- a cryogenic shutter mechanism for the instrument; and
- personnel for the SPIRE Instrument Control Centre (ICC).
In return for these contributions, Canada was allocated six positions on the SPIRE Science Team: one as a Co-Investigator (Dr. G.R. Davis (U Saskatchewan)) and five as Associate Scientists (Drs P.A. Feldman (HIA), M. Halpern (UBC), D.A. Naylor (U Lethbridge), D. Scott (UBC), C.D. Wilson (McMaster U)); these individuals formed the Canadian Herschel SPIRE Science Steering Committee (CHSSSC).
When Dr. Gary Davis took on the position as Director of the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii and ESA realized that the SPIRE shutter was not a favorable option, a new proposal to CSA was issued in August 2002 by the University of Lethbridge with the contributions detailed above. Dr. David Naylor and Dr. Gary Davis swapped positions in the Canadian Science Team correspondingly.
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