Press Release

NASA Space Infrared Telescope Facility Prepares to Integrate With Spacecraft for Mission to Study Early Universe

By SpaceRef Editor
February 28, 2002
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The
telescope system for NASA’s Space Infrared Telescope
Facility arrived February 20 at Lockheed Martin Space
Systems Co., Sunnyvale, Calif., where it will be integrated
with the spacecraft. The system, called the cryogenic
telescope assembly, contains the telescope, liquid helium
cooling tank and three science instruments. It was shipped
on February 19 from Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.,
Boulder, Colo., where it was built.

The Space Infrared Telescope Facility, scheduled to
launch on January 9, 2003, will study the early universe and
hunt for planet-forming regions in dust disks around nearby
stars. It will also detect objects by looking for the heat
they emit in the infrared portion of the electromagnetic
spectrum.

The Space Infrared Telescope Facility is the fourth and
final mission under NASA’s Great Observatories Program,
which includes the Hubble Space Telescope, the Compton Gamma
Ray Observatory and the Chandra Advanced X-ray Astrophysics
Facility. The observatory is also the first new mission of
NASA’s Origins Program, which will study the formation of
galaxies, stars, planets and life, and seek to answer the
questions: Where did we come from? Are we alone?

JPL manages the Space Infrared Telescope Facility for
NASA’s Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a
division of the California Institute of Technology in
Pasadena.

SpaceRef staff editor.