The Spitzer Space Telescope is executing the ninth year of extended operations beyond its 5.5-year prime mission. The project anticipated a maximum extended mission of about four years when the first mission extension was proposed. The robustness of the observatory hardware and the creativity of the project engineers and scientists in overcoming hurdles to operations has enabled a substantially longer mission lifetime. This has led to more challenges with an aging groundsystem due to resource reductions and decisions made early in the extended mission based on a shorter planned lifetime. We provide an overview of the extended mission phases, challenges met in maintaining and enhancing the science productivity, and what we would have done differently if the extended mission was planned from the start to be nearly twice as long as the prime mission.
Lisa J. Storrie-Lombardi, Bolinda E. Kahr, Joseph C. Hunt, Sean Carey, Carson Lee Bennett, Nancy Silbermann, Elena Scire, William A. Mahoney, and Patrick Lowrance, "Lessons learned in extended-extended Spitzer Space Telescope operations," Proc. SPIE 10704, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems VII, 107041D (Presented at SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation: June 14, 2018; Published: 10 July 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2314116.
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