Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Herschel Spacecraft Specs.

The Herschel Space Observatory will be approximately nine meters high and 4.3 meters wide, with a launch mass of about 3.25 metric tons. It will consist of an infrared telescope, a payload module containing the instruments, and a service module that houses the warm electronics of the instruments, equipment for communicating with Earth, and other infrastructure.

Specifications Table

Biggest Space Telescope

With a primary mirror measuring 3.5 meters in diameter, Herschel's Ritchey-Chr�tien telescope will be larger than any previous space-based telescope. Shielded from the sun, it will passively cool to around 80 K (80 degrees Celsius above absoulte zero) by radiating its heat into space.

Spacecraft light path

The mirror will be made of silicon carbide, a lightweight ceramic material resistant to stress, fatigue, and extreme temperatures. It can be polished as if it were glass, deviating from perfect smoothness by no more than one micron - a requirement to avoid distorting the images it receives.