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Data was typically taken during about 8 hours per day, while the satellite was visible from the German tracking station Weilheim.

After launch on 16 August 1984 IRM was taken through the usual commissioning phase and was declared fully operational three weeks later. The spacecraft was then operated until August 1986.

At launch the apogee of the IRM orbit was at a local time of 14:30 hours. As the mission progressed, the IRM apogee precessed to earlier local times at a rate of about 2 hours per month and had completed about 2 complete scans through all local times before the spacecraft ceased operation in August 1986. Thus IRM gave good coverage of all space plasma regions close to the Earth: the solar wind, bow shock, magnetosheath, magnetopause and plasma sheet.

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