On-orbit performance of the spitzer space telescope

Thomas Roellig, Michael Werner, David Gallagher, William Irace, Giovanni Fazio, Houck James, George Rieke, Robert Wilson, Thomas Soifer

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The Spitzer Space Telescope (formally known as SIRTF) was successfully launched on August 25, 2003, and has completed its initial in-orbit checkout and science validation and calibration period. The measured performance of the observatory has met or exceeded all of its high-level requirements, it entered normal operations in January 2004, and is returning high-quality science data. A superfluid-helium cooled 85 cm diameter telescope provides extremely low infrared backgrounds and feeds three science instruments covering wavelengths ranging from 3.6 to 160 microns. The telescope optical quality is excellent, providing diffraction-limited performance down to wavelengths below 6.5 microns. Based on the first helium mass and boil-off rate measurements, a cryogenic lifetime in excess of 5 years is expected. This presentation will provide a summary of the overall performance of the observatory, with an emphasis on those performance parameters that have the greatest impact on its ultimate science return.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-49
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Issue numberPART 1
StatePublished - 2004
EventOptical, Infrared, and Millimeter Space Telecopes - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: Jun 21 2004Jun 25 2004


  • Astronomy
  • Infrared
  • Spitzer Mission
  • Telescope

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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