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Immediately following orbital insertion AXAF will be turned on (in the sense of activating the spacecraft and science instrument systems), and will be tested to verify that it functions properly. This period is called the Orbital Verification Phase. Planning between the ASC, the spacecraft contractors and the instrument teams is currently underway to assure that the instrument is safely and efficiently brought into full operational status.
The Orbital Verification (OV) phase is very important to instrument calibration. It provides the earliest opportunity to determine the in-orbit performance of the instrument, telescope and gratings. As such, it is a crucial part of the later trend analyses, and it is very important to ensure that all the needed baseline measurements get carried out during OV.
The purpose of orbital verification is to demonstrate the overall scientific performance of AXAF. This activity involves several aspects. We must verify science instrument operation, the ability to acquire celestial targets, the ability to position the specified science instrument at HRMA focus, the ability to acquire images and spectra, and we must determine focus and boresight.