The purpose of the COBE (Cosmic Background Explorer) mission was to take precise measurements of the diffuse radiation between 1 micrometer and 1 cm over the whole celestial sphere. The following quantities were measured:
The experiment module contained the instruments and a dewar filled with 650 liters of 1.6 K liquid helium, with a conical sun shade. The base module contained the attitude control, communications and power systems. The satellite rotated at 1 rpm about the axis of symmetry to control systematic errors in the anisotropy measurements and to allow observations of the zodiacal light at various solar elongation angles. The orientation of the spin axis was maintained anti-earth and at 94 degrees to the sun-earth line. The operational orbit was dawn-dusk sun-synchronous so that the sun was always to the side and thus was shielded from the instruments. With this orbit and spin-axis orientation, the instruments performed a complete scan of the celestial sphere every six months.
The spacecraft featured three instruments:
The Instruments were housed inside a cryostat, cooled with 95.7 kg liquid helium.
Instrument operations were terminated 1993-12-23. As of January 1994, engineering operations were to conclude that month, after which operation of the spacecraft would be transferred to Wallops for use as a test satellite.
|Type / Application:||Cosmology|
|Contractors:||NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Ball Aerospace|
|Equipment:||FIRAS, DMR, DIRBE, Cryostat|
|Configuration:||Hexaginal prism, 3 solar arrays, deployable sunshade|
|Power:||3 deployable fixed solar arrays, batteries|
|Orbit:||872 km × 886 km, 99.0°|
|COBE (Explorer 66)||1989-089A||18.11.1989||Va SLC-2W||Delta-5920|