On-orbit performance of the Spitzer Space Telescope: science meets engineering

January 2022 • 2022JATIS...8a4002W

Authors • Werner, Michael W. • Lowrance, Patrick J. • Roellig, Tom • Gorjian, Varoujan • Hunt, Joseph • Bradford, Charles M. • Krick, Jessica

Abstract • The Spitzer Space Telescope operated for over 16 years in an Earth-trailing solar orbit, returning not only a wealth of scientific data but also, as a by-product, spacecraft and instrument engineering data that will be of interest to future mission planners. These data will be particularly useful because Spitzer operated in an environment essentially identical to that at the L2 LaGrange point, where many future astrophysics missions will operate. In particular, the radiative cooling demonstrated by Spitzer has been adopted by other infrared space missions, from JWST to SPHEREx. We aim to facilitate the utility of the Spitzer engineering data by collecting the more unique and potentially useful portions into a single, readily accessible publication. We avoid discussion of less unique systems, such as the telecom, flight software, and electronics systems, and do not address the innovations in mission and science operations that the Spitzer team initiated. These and other items of potential interest are addressed in references supplied in an appendix to this paper.


IPAC Authors


Jessica Krick

Associate Scientist


Patrick Lowrance

Senior Scientist