Herschel spacecraft assembly complete

Apr 23, 2008
Herschel spacecraft assembly complete
A picture of the Herschel telescope resting on the cryostat, taken on 16 April 2008. The Herschel telescope has been assembled with the payload and service modules, at ESA's European Space Research and Technology Centre, completing the assembly of the entire spacecraft. This powerful telescope will allow scientists to look deep into space, at long infrared wavelengths. Herschel’s spectral coverage, which ranges from far-infrared to sub-millimetre wavelengths, will be made available for space-based observations for the first time. Credits: ESA

The mirror of the Herschel telescope has now been assembled with the payload and service module, completing the spacecraft structure - an important milestone in the days following through to launch.

The sunshield and solar arrays were assembled with the cryostat and service module on 11 April. The telescope was assembled on 16 April. The spacecraft will be subjected to several mechanical tests over the next few weeks.

The telescope mirror of the Herschel infrared observatory is a 3.5-m diameter technological marvel. It is made from 12 silicon-carbide petals brazed together to form a single structure and coated with a layer of reflective aluminium, forming a remarkably lightweight mirror.

The fully-assembled telescope, which includes the primary mirror, the secondary mirror and its support structure, is a feathery 320 kg; remarkably low for such a sturdy structure capable of withstanding high launch loads and functioning precisely in the harsh environment of space.

This powerful telescope will allow scientists to look deep into space, at long infrared wavelengths. Herschel’s spectral coverage, which ranges from far-infrared to sub-millimetre wavelengths, will be made available for space-based observations for the first time.

Herschel will make it possible to observe and study relatively cool objects everywhere in the universe, from our own back yard to distant galaxies, teaching us much more about the birth and evolution of stars and galaxies.

Source: ESA

Explore further: NASA orders first ever commercial human spaceflight mission from Boeing

Related Stories

Giant mirror presents a unique, oversize load

May 21, 2015

After years of polishing to perfection, the mirror slated to form the heart of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, expected to revolutionize our view of the cosmos as a place of constant change, has left ...

Giant telescope takes close look at Jupiter's moon Io

May 01, 2015

With the first detailed observations through imaging interferometry of a lava lake on a moon of Jupiter, the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory places itself as the forerunner of the next generation of ...

Glitter cloud may serve as space mirror

Apr 16, 2015

What does glitter have to do with finding stars and planets outside our solar system? Space telescopes may one day make use of glitter-like materials to help take images of new worlds, according to researchers ...

Recommended for you

What is lunar regolith?

May 29, 2015

When you're walking around on soft ground, do you notice how your feet leave impressions? Perhaps you've tracked some of the looser earth in your yard into the house on occasion? If you were to pick up some ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.