WISE MEDIA KIT
WISE Mission & Program Information
The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) is a four-channel, super-cooled infrared telescope designed to provide a full sky, infrared map. WISE will create a cosmic clearinghouse of hundreds of millions of objects - everything from the most luminous galaxies, to the nearest stars, to dark and potentially hazardous asteroids. The WISE survey will be the most detailed to date in infrared light. The observations will guide other infrared telescopes to the most interesting objects for follow-up studies including NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope set to launch in 2014. WISE launched onDecember 14, 2009 at 6:09 a.m. PST aboard a Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
In April 2003, NASA selected Ball Aerospace as a team member to develop WISE for the medium-class Explorer Program missions.
Under contract to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Ball Aerospace designed, built, tested and conducted flight system testing for WISE in Boulder, Colo. Like the Ball Aerospace Orbital Express NEXTSAT spacecraft, WISE is based on the versatile, space-proven Ball Aerospace RS-300 spacecraft bus design.
WISE is one of several cryogenically cooled infrared systems supported by Ball Aerospace. Other programs have included the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS), the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE), the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) for the Hubble Space Telescope.
Program Manager Profile
Joan Howard is the Ball Aerospace program manager for the WISE spacecraft development and the flight system integration and test. “The team had great chemistry, and we all made it our goal to keep it fun over the life of the program, despite the occasional technical challenges,” she said.
- The Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) satellite will carry a 40 cm infrared sensitive telescope and provide an “all-sky” survey 500 times more sensitive than any previous mission.
- The spacecraft will be placed in a 525 km, circular, polar synchronous orbit for its seven month mission.
- The WISE instrument will be chilled to about minus 261 degrees Celsius (minus 438 degrees Fahrenheit). The cold temperatures eliminate glow from the telescope and detectors so they can see the infrared light from faint objects.
- Among the objects WISE will study are cool, dim stars such as brown dwarfs, asteroids, and the most luminous infrared galaxies.
- In addition to performing its science goals, WISE may detect 400 Near Earth Objects (NEOs), or roughly two percent of the estimated NEO population of interest during its mission.
Recent Press Releases
Aug. 11, 2009 – Ball Aerospace to Ship WISE Spacecraft
June 13, 2007 - WISE Complete CDR at Ball Aerospace
Dec. 4, 2010 - "The WISE Mission" podcast features Ball Aerospace WISE Program Manager Joan Howard discussing the infrared-sensitive telescope.