Mission News

Kepler Mission Manager Update
Jim Fanson by Jim Fanson, Kepler, JPL Project Manager

The dust cover was successfully jettisoned from the front of the telescope last evening at about 7:18 p.m. PDT. Everything went according to prediction, with the vehicle experiencing a slight push to one side. Kepler's attitude control system easily responded to the movement, steering the spacecraft back to its original position.

Starlight was seen in all four of the fine guidance sensors on the corners of the photometer focal plane (the area where light is focused). The spacecraft was maneuvered to the science attitude, or the position where it will collect science data. It will collect images as the temperatures drop to operational range. The next several days will be spent calibrating the alignment of the fine guidance sensors with the spacecraft star trackers, and achieving fine point using the fine guidance sensors. This will enable the spacecraft to stabilize the line of sight at levels similar to the performance of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.