ESA's Infrared Space Observatory (ISO) satellite was launched successfully by Ariane flight 80 in November 1995 into an elliptical 24-hour orbit. The satellite essentially consists of a large cryostat containing superfluid liquid helium to maintain the 60-cm aperture telescope, the scientific instruments and the optical baffles at temperatures between 2K and 8K. A pointing accuracy at the arc second level is provided by a three-axis- stabilisation system. ISO's instrument complement consists of four instruments, namely: an imaging photo-polarimeter (2.5--240mu m), a camera (2.5--17mu m), a short wavelength spectrometer (3--45mu m) and a long wavelength spectrometer (43--196mu m). ISO's Mission Operations Centre is located at Villafranca, Spain and ISO is used scientifically for the nearly 17 hours a day that it spends outside the Earth's radiation belts. Following completion of a highly successful commissioning and performance verification phase, ISO is now in its routine operations phase. An overview of the scientific mission, including details of the in-orbit performance of the spacecraft and plans for observing time, will be given.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts #188
- Pub Date:
- May 1996