Last modified: November 1998
- Proposal stage of the VSOP mission
- First proposals - early 1980s
- VSOP proposal put to ISAS in March 1987 after a two year feasibility study
- Funding for VSOP granted in 1988 to start in the 1989 financial year.
- The MUSES-B Spacecraft
- Experimental Module
- Design and testing 1989 - 1992
- Flight Module
- First integration testing June - November 1994
The MUSES-B spacecraft during integration tests at ISAS.
- Final integration testing November 1995 - July 1996
- M-V Rocket
- Funding granted in 1989 to start in the 1990 financial year.
Static firing tests included:
- First stage rocket tests - 21st June 1994, 22nd June 1995
- Second stage rocket test - 27th October 1994
- Third stage rocket test - 25th May 1995
- Fourth stage (kick-motor) rocket test - 28th September 1994, 14th October 1995
Launch: 12 February 1997
Satellite renamed HALCA
- In-Orbit Checkout
- Solar panels and Ku-band link antenna deployed during first orbit
- Three perigee raising maneuvers conducted 15--21 February 1997
- Sub-reflector deployed 25 February
- Man antenna deployed 27/28 February
- Ku-band (15GHz) telemetry links established with tracking stations
- The first radio astronomical observations: HALCA detected
OH maser lines from W49N on 24 March
- First series of eclipses by the earth 30 March -- 24 April 1997
- First fringes 13 May 1997 -- see VSOP correlator section below.
- General Observing Time observations start -- July 1997
- Tracking Stations
- Usuda ground-breaking - November 1994
- Usuda 10m tracking station (pictured below) completed - February 1997
- NRAO Green Bank 14m tracking station antenna conversion completed - 1995
- NASA/DSN Goldstone 11m tracking station installed - February 1996
- NASA/DSN Tidbinbilla 11m tracking station installed - May 1996
- NASA/DSN Madrid 11m tracking station installed - June 1996
- VSOP Correlator
- The correlator is a ten station FX type correlator. Tape translators
to copy from VLBA and S2 format tapes to VSOP format are also
- Three station hardware testing - October 1994
- Correlator installation at the National Astronomical Observatory,
Mitaka - February 1995
- First fringes! - September 1995
Signed commemorative edition of the fringes.
More details in VSOP news no. 24.
- First fringes to HALCA! More details in
VSOP news no. 63.
More pictures are here !