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Mission Concept for the Single Aperture Far-Infrared (SAFIR) ObservatoryWe have developed a preliminary but comprehensive mission concept for SAFIR, as a 10 m-class far-infrared and submillimeter observatory that would begin development later in this decade to meet the needs outlined above. Its operating temperature (< or = 4K) and instrument complement would be optimized to reach the natural sky confusion limit in the far-infrared with diffraction-limited performance down to at least the atmospheric cutoff, lambda > or approx. 40 microns. This would provide a point source sensitivity improvement of several orders of magnitude over that of the Spitzer Space Telescope (previously SIRTF) or the Herschel Space Observatory. Additionally, it would have an angular resolution 12 times finer than that of Spitzer and three times finer than Herschel. This sensitivity and angular resolution are necessary to perform imaging and spectroscopic studies of individual galaxies in the early universe. We have considered many aspects of the SAFIR mission, including the telescope technology (optical design, materials, and packaging), detector needs and technologies, cooling method and required technology developments, attitude and pointing, power systems, launch vehicle, and mission operations. The most challenging requirements for this mission are operating temperature and aperture size of the telescope, and the development of detector arrays. SAFIR can take advantage of much of the technology under development for JWST, but with much less stringent requirements on optical accuracy.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Benford, Dominic J. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Amato, Michael J. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Mather, John C. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Moseley, S. Harvey, Jr. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Subject Category
Distribution Limits