Spitzer Space Telescope Crab Nebula

By the early 1970s, astronomers began to consider the possibility of placing an infrared telescope above the obscuring effects of Earth’s atmosphere.
In 1979, a report from the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, A Strategy for Space Astronomy and Astrophysics for the 1980s, identified a Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) as “one of two major astrophysics facilities [to be developed] for Spacelab”, a Shuttle-borne platform. Anticipating the major results from an upcoming Explorer satellite and from the Shuttle mission, the report also favored the “study and development of . . . long-duration spaceflights of infrared telescopes cooled to cryogenic temperatures. ”

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