SUNNYVALE, Calif., June 25 -- The primary near-infrared camera (NIRCam) for NASA's next-generation space telescope will be designed and built by a team headed by the University of Arizona and including the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, Calif., as the principal partner.
The new space observatory, slated for launch in 2010, will help NASA observe the first stars and galaxies formed in the universe.
The NIRCam team also includes EMS Technologies of Ottawa, Canada; COMDEV Ltd., of Cambridge, Canada; and co-investigators.
The telescope will be a space observatory optimized for infrared imaging and spectroscopy of astronomical objects, launched to a location about a million miles from earth opposite the sun, where it will conduct its observations in deep space. The telescope will be equipped with extremely sensitive infrared instruments -- NIRCam, a near-infrared spectrograph, and a mid-infrared instrument. Its large aperture and IR detectors will enable it to see objects 400 times fainter than those currently studied with large ground-based infrared telescopes or the current generation of space-based infrared telescopes.