The SIRTF (Space Infrared Telescope Facility) is a 1 meter class, cryogenically cooled space telescope operated as an observatory for infrared astronomy in the 3 - 180 micron range. The observatory is the final element of NASA's four Great observatories. The main objectives of the mission are:
The spacecraft consists of an octagonal bus structure, and a solar array to power the science instruments. The pointing contron subsystem employs a celestial-inertial, three-axis stabilized control system. SIRTF is planned to have an Earth-trailing Heliocentric orbit.
Unlike IRAS (Infrared Astronomical Satellite), which swept rapidly across the sky, SIRTF will be a true observatory, carrying a variety of focal plane instruments. The SIRTF telescope is a lightweight reflector of Ritchey-Chretien design.
Spitzer carries three instruments on-board:
SIRTF has been renamed Spitzer Space Telescope (SST) in December 2003.
Spitzer ran out of liquid helium coolant on 15 May 2009, which stopped far-IR observations. Only the IRAC instrument remains in use, and only at the two shorter wavelength bands (3.6 µm and 4.5 µm). The telescope equilibrium temperature is now around 30 K (-243 °C), and IRAC continues to produce valuable images at those wavelengths as the "Spitzer Warm Mission".
|Type / Application:||Astronomy, Infra-Red|
|Contractors:||Lockheed Martin (Bus), Ball Aerospace (Telescope)|
|Power:||Solar cells, batteries|
|SIRTF (SST, Spitzer)||2003-038A||25.08.2003||CC SLC-17B||Delta-7920H|