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Fast Facts

The Spitzer Space Telescope was a space-borne, cryogenically-cooled infrared observatory capable of studying objects ranging from our Solar System to the distant reaches of the Universe. Spitzer was the final element in NASA's Great Observatories Program, and an important scientific and technical cornerstone of the Astronomical Search for Origins Program.

Acronyms List (pdf)



Launch Date: 25 August 2003
Launch Vehicle/Site: Delta 7920H ELV / Cape Canaveral, Florida
Lifetime: Requirement of 2.5 years (minimum); 5+ years (goal at launch); operated until decommissioned on Jan 30, 2020
Orbit: Earth-trailing, Heliocentric
Wavelength Coverage: 3 - 180 microns
Telescope: 85 cm diameter (33.5 inches), f/12 lightweight Beryllium, cooled to 5.6 K during the cold mission phase
Diffraction Limit: 1.5 arcseconds at 6.5 microns
Science Capabilities: Imaging / Photometry, 3-180 microns
Spectroscopy, 5-40 microns
Spectrophotometry, 50-100 microns
Planetary Tracking: 1 arcsec / sec
Cryogen / Volume: Liquid Helium / 360 liters (95 Gallons)
Launch Mass: 950 kg (2094 lb) [Observatory: 851.5 kg, Cover: 6.0 kg, Helium: 50.4 kg, Nitrogen Propellant: 15.6 kg]