NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
IRAS (Infrared Astronomical Satellite) being prepared for launch by US and Dutch technicians at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Launch date was January 26, 1983. The satellite was placed in a 900 kilometre-high (560 miles) near-polar orbit, circling the Earth 14 times a day. IRAS consists of a 60-cm infrared telescope, supercooled to 2 degrees above absolute zero (-270 degrees Celsius), & 62 infrared detectors. Unhampered by Earth's atmosphere, which absorbs infrared radiation, it performed an all-sky survey at infrared wavelengths & studied particular sources.
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