NASA launches last great telescope

Sept. 18, 2003
The Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SITF) went into the first-ever Earth-trailing orbit this past August.

NASA launches last "great" telescope

The Earth-trailing orbit will keep the telescope away from the reflected light and heat of the Earth so it can see objects farther away. Potential targets for the device include planet-forming discs around stars, brown dwarves, and galaxies billions of light years away. "The Facility will detect objects that have been too cold, too hidden, or too far away to be seen by other space observatories," says Michael Werner, NASA project scientist.
Although the telescope launched "warm," a tank of liquid helium and the coldness of space quickly cooled the infrared sensors - cheaper than chilling them prior to launch. A solar panel serves double duty generating electricity and shielding SITF from the sun. The telescope is expected to be operational for up to 5 years. It is the last of NASA's Great Observatories programs that have included the Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-Ray Observatory, and the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory.

Workers processed the Space Infrared Telescope Facility in clean rooms. When operational, as in an artist's rendering, it will gather infrared images of the galaxy and beyond.

Sponsored Recommendations

From concept to consumption: Optimizing success in food and beverage

April 9, 2024
Identifying opportunities and solutions for plant floor optimization has never been easier. Download our visual guide to quickly and efficiently pinpoint areas for operational...

A closer look at modern design considerations for food and beverage

April 9, 2024
With new and changing safety and hygiene regulations at top of mind, its easy to understand how other crucial aspects of machine design can get pushed aside. Our whitepaper explores...

Cybersecurity and the Medical Manufacturing Industry

April 9, 2024
Learn about medical manufacturing cybersecurity risks, costs, and threats as well as effective cybersecurity strategies and essential solutions.

Condition Monitoring for Energy and Utilities Assets

April 9, 2024
Condition monitoring is an essential element of asset management in the energy and utilities industry. The American oil and gas, water and wastewater, and electrical grid sectors...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Machine Design, create an account today!