Wide Field Infrared Explorer

The Wide Field Infrared Explorer (WIRE) was a satellite launched on 5 March 1999 on the Pegasus XL rocket into a polar orbit between 409 km and 426 km above the Earth's surface. WIRE was intended to be a four-month infrared survey of the entire sky at 21-27 micrometres and 9-15 micrometres, specifically focusing on starburst galaxies and luminous protogalaxies.

The science team was based at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center in Pasadena, California. Flight operations, integration, and testing were from Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. The telescope was built by Space Dynamics Laboratories in Utah.

Premature ejection of the spacecraft aperture cover led to depletion of the solid hydrogen cryogen shortly after launch, ending the primary science mission. The onboard star tracker remained functional, and has been used for long-term precision photometric monitoring of bright stars in support of an asteroseismology program.

On May 10, 2011 (around 07:00 GMT) WIRE reentered Earth's atmosphere, according to the mission website.

Read more about Wide Field Infrared Explorer:  Mission

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Wide Field Infrared Explorer - Mission
... resolution, having been designed primarily for a wide field of view and detection of the brightest stars, it is above the atmosphere and thus avoids scintillation ... science goals of WIRE may finally be achieved by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission which was successfully launched into orbit on December 14, 2009 ...

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