Wide-field Infrared Explorer

Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer Spacecraft Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer Spacecraft

The Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer spacecraft. Image credit: NASA

Mission Summary

Designed as a four-month mission to study starburst galaxies, the Wide-Field Infrared Explorer, or WIRE, failed soon after launch due to a malfunction that caused the space telescope's coolant to be rapidly depleted.

The Wide-Field Infrared Explorer did, however, reach Earth orbit and was instead used for astroseismology, which involved measuring the oscillations of nearby stars to examine their structure. Spacecraft operations were transferred to Bowie State University's Operations and Control Center until the space telescope re-entered Earth's atmosphere on May 10, 2011.

Acronym: WIRE
Type: Orbiter
Status: Past
Launch Date: March 05, 1999
6:55 p.m. PST (02:56 UTC)
Launch Location: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
Mission End Date: May 10, 2011
Target: Universe
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