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  • NASA Infrared Telescope Launch Postponed
Apr 2003
WASHINGTON, April 15 -- NASA has postponed the launch of its new infrared space telescope, The Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF), until April 27. It was originally scheduled to be launched Friday.

According to the SIRTF Web site managed by the California Institute of Techology, "NASA has decided to use the additional week to complete internal readiness assessments."
The $740 million telescope's infrared sensors will allow scientists to see further into the universe than ever before, according to NASA. The telescope, with an 85-centimeter (33.5-inch) diameter lens, whose mission could last up to five years, is equipped with three scientific cryogenic cooling instruments.

It has an infrared array camera to study near-to-mid-infrared rays, an infrared spectrograph that breaks light into wavelengths similar to a prism and a multiband imaging photometer that operates at far-infrared wavelengths to study cool, dusty objects.

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An afocal optical device made up of lenses or mirrors, usually with a magnification greater than unity, that renders distant objects more distinct, by enlarging their images on the retina.
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