Infrared Astronomical Satellite

Mission Summary

The Infrared Astronomical Satellite, or IRAS, was the first mission to put a telescope in space to survey the sky in infrared. It made a number of unexpected discoveries, including: six new comets, the core of our galaxy, and evidence of solid material around the stars Vega and Fomalhaut, which strongly suggested the existence of planetary systems around other stars.

The telescope was a joint project of NASA, the Netherlands Agency for Aerospace Programmes and the United Kingdom's Science and Engineering Research Council.

Mission Events

November 21, 1983: Following a 10-month-long mission, the space telescope exhausts its cryogen and ceases operations.

Scientific Instrument(s)

- Survey array
- Low Resolution Spectrometer (LRS)
- Chopped Photometric Channel (CPC)

Acronym: IRAS
Type: Orbiter
Status: Past
Launch Date: January 25, 1983
1:15 p.m. PST (21:17 UTC)
Launch Location: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
Mission End Date: November 21, 1983
Target: Universe