Great Observatories

The Great Observatories program is NASA's series of artificial satellites that consist of four large, powerful space-based astronomical telescopes. Each of the four missions was designed to examine a specific wavelength/energy region of the electromagnetic spectrum (gamma rays, X-rays, visible and ultraviolet light, infrared light) using very different technologies. Dr. Charles Pellerin, NASA's Director, Astrophysics invented and developed the program. The four Great Observatories were launched between 1990 and 2003, and three remain operational as of 2017.

Great Observatories Edit

  • The Spitzer Space Telescope (SST) observes the infrared spectrum. It was launched in 2003 aboard a Delta II rocket into an earth-trailing solar orbit; it was called the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) before launch. Depletion of its onboard liquid helium coolant in 2009 reduced its functionality significantly, leaving it with only two short-wavelength imaging modules.