Proceedings PaperInfrared Space Observatory (ISO): mission and spacecraft
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The Infrared Space Observatory (ISO), a fully approved and funded project of the European Space Agency (ESA), will operate at wavelengths from 2.5 - 200 micrometers . ISO will provide astronomers with a unique facility of unprecedented sensitivity for a detailed exploration of the universe ranging from objects in the solar system right out to the most distant extragalactic sources. The satellite essentially consists of a large liquid-helium cryostat, a telescope with a 60-cm diameter primary mirror and four scientific instruments. The instrument complement is: an imaging photopolarimeter (2.5 - 200 micrometers ), a camera (2.5 - 17 micrometers ), a short wavelength spectrometer (2.5 - 45 micrometers ) and a long wavelength spectrometer (45 - 180 micrometers ). These instruments are being built by international consortia of scientific institutes and will be delivered to ESA for in-orbit operations. ISO is scheduled to be launched in 1995 and will be operational for at least 18 months. In keeping with ISO's role as an observatory, two-thirds of its observing time will be made available to the general astronomical community.