Space

August 26, 2013

Lockheed Martin celebrates 10 years of mission success for Spitzer Space Telescope

Ten years ago, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope ñ built, integrated and tested at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale, Calif. ñ roared into space from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying the observatory into an Earth-trailing orbit around the sun.

The Spitzer Space Telescope is a space-borne, cryogenically-cooled infrared observatory that studies objects ranging from our Solar System to the distant reaches of the Universe.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver provides mission support for Spitzer spaceflight operations in conjunction with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology.

We are extremely proud of our decades of work on behalf of NASA, and honored to have played such a key role in the Spitzer Space Telescope program,î said Jim Crocker, Lockheed Martin vice president of Civil Space. ìIt is particularly satisfying because celebrating Spitzerís 10th anniversary seemed unlikely at the outset as the mission was designed to last between two and five years.

In May 2009 the onboard liquid helium supply on Spitzer was exhausted. The mission was extended, however, because the two shortest wavelength detectors in Spitzerís camera continued functioning perfectly as the observatory trailed far behind the Earth in its orbit, through the cold of deep space.

The Spitzer Space Telescope views the universe in infrared light, which is largely blocked by the Earthís atmosphere. With Spitzer, astronomers have determined that Earth-like planets form around many, if not most of the nearby Sun-like stars in our galaxy, suggesting that the potential for life might be more common that previously thought. In looking at our own galaxy ñ the Milky Way galaxy ñ the observatory has given astronomers valuable insights by revealing where new stars are forming. In addition, the infrared eyes of Spitzer are ideal for studying distant planet forming disks, and characterizing planets beyond our Solar System.

The spaceborne Spitzer observatory comprises a 0.85-meter diameter telescope and three scientific instruments capable of performing imaging and spectroscopy in the 3-180 micron wavelength regime. Spitzer has provided more than a 100-fold increase in scientific capability over previous infrared missions. Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colo. built Spitzerís Cryogenic Telescope Assembly, which includes the scientific instruments.

Spitzer was the fourth and final member of NASAís family of Great Observatories, which also includes the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, and the Hubble Space Telescope also built, integrated and operated by Lockheed Martin. The interaction of multiple Great Observatories coordinating observations enabled a greater science return and deeper understanding as astronomical phenomena could be imaged simultaneously over many different wavelengths. Hubble, Spitzer and Chandra remain in operation.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

NASA seeks proposals to develop capabilities for deep space exploration, journey to Mars

NASA is soliciting proposals for concept studies or technology development projects that will be necessary to enable human pioneers to go to deep space destinations such as an asteroid and Mars. Through a Broad Area Announcemen NASA released Oct. 28, the agency seeks to use public-private partnerships to share funding to develop advanced propulsion, habitation...
 
 
Photograph courtesy of  NASA/CXC/Stanford/I. Zhuravleva et al

NASA’S Chandra Observatory identifies impact of cosmic chaos on star birth

Photograph courtesy of NASA/CXC/Stanford/I. Zhuravleva et al Chandra observations of the Perseus and Virgo galaxy clusters suggest turbulence may be preventing hot gas there from cooling, addressing a long-standing question of ...
 
 

NASA hosts first agency-wide social media event for Orion’s first flight test

NASA invites social media followers to apply for credentials to get a preview of the Orion spacecraft’s first flight test during NASA Social events Dec. 3 at each of its 10 centers. Orion will launch on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,...
 

 
nasa-spacex

Critical NASA science returns to Earth aboard SpaceX Dragon spacecraft

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo spacecraft splashed down at 3:39 p.m., EDT, Oct. 25, in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 300 miles west of Baja California, returning 3,276 pounds of NASA cargo and science samples from the Internati...
 
 
NASA, ESA, PSI, JHU/APL, STScI/AURA image

Close encounters: Comet Siding Spring seen next to Mars

NASA, ESA, PSI, JHU/APL, STScI/AURA image This composite NASA Hubble Space Telescope Image captures the positions of comet Siding Spring and Mars in a never-before-seen close passage of a comet by the Red Planet, which happened...
 
 

NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly shares bullying prevention message ahead of one-year mission

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who is scheduled to fly on a one-year spaceflight mission in 2015, is lending his voice to help reduce childhood bullying. As part of Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, Kelly recorded a special message encouraging bystanders to take action. “Be more than just a bystander,” said Kelly in the message. “Take action...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>