A formal comprehensive test of the science ground-segment, the Science Operations Verification Test is an important part of the formal verification of any mission, and no less so for LISA Pathfinder.
Testing the ground-segment end-to-end, this test will demonstrate the capabilities of all parts of the chain. The primary aspects under test cover two key aspects of the science operations:
- the ability to plan, test and upload Payload Operations Requests which form the main structure of the science investigations;
- the tools and delivery chain to down-link, process, and deliver the science data to the data analysis teams.
The SOVT is a complex activitiy involving many parties, from the industrial teams responsible for configuring and operating the Real-time Testbed (which simulates the dynamics and systems of the satellite), through the mission operations teams who command and manage the health of the satellite, to the STOC teams who, as well as taking care of the data delivery, also prepare and implement the science investigations, and finally on to the analysis teams who, in quasi-real-time will analyse the data from particular experiments, and use that information to plan and/or validate future investigations.
Due to its complexity, a number of preparatory tests (pre-SOVT) have been carried out with increasing levels of complexity and representativeness.