Spitzer Telescope

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Overview:

SpaceWERX, the “innovation arm” of the United States Space Force recently selected Rhea Space Activity, a Washington-based astrophysics startup, to develop the Spitzer Resurrector Mission.

About Spitzer Telescope:

  • It is a U.S. satellite the fourth and last of the NASA fleet of “Great Observatories” satellites.
  • It was the third space telescope that was dedicated to infrared imaging and was launched in 2003.
  • The satellite telescope orbits the Sun about one astronomical unit (AU) in an Earth-trailing orbit. 
  • It studied the cosmos at infrared wavelengths.
  • It spent more than 16 years gathering information on the origin, evolution, and composition of planets and smaller bodies, stars, galaxies, and the universe as a whole. 
  • It was named in honour of Lyman Spitzer, Jr., an American astrophysicist who in a seminal 1946 paper foresaw the power of astronomical telescopes operating in space.

What is Spitzer Resurrector Mission?

  • It is designed to “restart” the telescope.
  • Right now, the telescope is about two AU away from the Earth.In its current location, direct communications with Earth are not possible.
  • The Mission will confirm that Spitzer has been restored to its original performance capabilities.
  • After that, it will remain near the telescope to act as a high-rate data relay to our planet. This can restore Spitzer to its full efficiency.
  • The telerobotic Spitzer-Resurrector spacecraft would travel around 300 million kilometres to the telescope to restore its service.
  • This will act as a demonstration for the “In-space Service Assembly and Manufacturing” ISAM techniques that are being explored by the US Air Force and Space Force.

 


Q1) What is the United States Space Force (USSF)?

The USSF is the newest branch of the Armed Forces. It was established December 20, 2019 with enactment of the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act and will be stood-up over the next 18 months. The U.S. Space Force is a military service that organizes, trains, and equips space forces in order to protect U.S. and allied interests in space and to provide space capabilities to the joint force.

Source: Groundbreaking proposal sets out to resurrect NASA’s Spitzer Telescope