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WISE: Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer

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News & Events

Dec. 29, 2009NASA's WISE Space Telescope Jettisons Its Cover – NASA's recently launched Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer opened its eyes to the starry sky today, after ejecting its protective cover. Read more.

Dec. 22, 2009Prepping WISE to Pop Its Lens Cap – Engineers are getting ready to eject the cover on NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, which launched from Vandengerg Air Force Base, Calif., on Dec. 14. Read more.

Dec. 22, 2009 – WISE is now a little more than a week into its in-orbit checkout (IOC), and all is performing well. The camera was turned on over the weekend and all operations are continuing as planned.

Dec. 22, 2009 – Heavens Above now has WISE in their database. You can see where WISE is in its orbit and determine when it will pass overhead where you live. Read more.

Dec. 14, 2009 – WISE has launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Dec. 10, 2009 – The WISE launch has been delayed to 6:09:33 AM PST on Monday, December 14th.

Dec. 9, 2009 – The WISE launch has been delayed 24 hours to 6:09:33 AM PST on Saturday, December 12th.

Dec. 9, 2009 – New Space.com article on WISE, "A New Closest Star? - Getting WISE to Brown Dwarfs." A new NASA mission may discover dim stars very close to our Sun. Super-cooled detectors in the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer will seek hidden treasures across the entire sky, taking at least 1.5 million images - each 4 megapixels in size. Read more.

Dec. 9, 2009 – Another new Space.com article on WISE, "New Space Telescope to Map Infrared Sky Better Than Ever." A new NASA spacecraft is ready to tackle a grueling nine-month photo shoot of cosmic proportions to seek out more than just the stars. Read more.

PASADENA, Calif. -- The countdown clock is ticking, with just days to go before the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, rockets into space on a mission to map the entire sky in infrared light. See full NASA press release.

Dec. 8, 2009 – WISE has been getting lots of great press! Among many the sources are the New York Times, a Huffington Post piece entitled NASA Space Exploration: 9 Most Incredible Missions this Decade, Dozens of city newspapers and news websites around the country, including the Washington Post, picked up an AP story.

Dec. 7, 2009 – WISE is on track to launch on 12/11. The WISE team completed a successful countdown rehearsal today and the launch vehicle completed fueling the second stage. All systems are go for launch at this time.

Dec. 4, 2009 – WISE launch has been delayed to the same time of day on Friday, December 11.

Nov. 24, 2009Heavy Lifting. United Launch Alliance workers position a Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer satellite for emplacement onto an ULA Delta II rocket. Photos.

Nov. 20, 2009 –This morning, from 3:30 - 7:30 am pacific, some of the team watched WISE get moved from the Astrotech processing facility to the SLC-2 tower, hoisted up and installed on top of our Delta II rocket.

Nov. 17, 2009 –Wise is chilled out, sporting a sunshade and getting ready to roll. NASA's newest spacecraft is scheduled to roll to the pad on Friday, Nov. 20, its last stop before launching into space to survey the entire sky in infrared light. Watch the Nov. 17 NASA WISE press conference.

Nov. 17, 2009 –New NASA article on WISE, "NASA's WISE Gets Ready to Survey the Whole Sky." NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or Wise, is chilled out, sporting a sunshade and getting ready to roll. NASA's newest spacecraft is scheduled to roll to the pad on Friday, Nov. 20, its last stop before launching into space to survey the entire sky in infrared light. Read more.

The Lives of Stars
From night to night and year to year the stars, including the Sun, appear constant and unchanging. However, the stars do change with time, only on time scales much, much longer than days and years.
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Nov. 3, 2009 – Today, WISE is the featured podcast for the 365 days of Astronomy. This is a project for the International Year of Astronomy. You can listen to the podcast at http://365daysofastronomy.org.

Oct. 29, 2009 – WISE is being cooled down for the last time and filled with frozen hydrogen, a process that will continue for the next few weeks. Tests completed Oct. 23 and 24 of the cold performance showed the instrument continues to work as expected. When WISE warms up, it will be in orbit and have completed its infrared survey of the sky.

Oct. 26, 2009 – Assembly of the WISE launch vehicle, a Delta 7320 rocket, is well underway at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The first and second stages are in place, and one of the three strap-on boosters is visible at the base of the rocket. The WISE spacecraft with its supply of frozen hydrogen will be attached to the rocket in late November. Pictures.

Oct. 26, 2009 – The WISE spacecraft is in the processing facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, surrounded by equipment used to fill the instrument with its supply of frozen hydrogen. On October 21, WISE begain cooling for the last time: the instrument will not become warm again until the cryogenic survey is completed in orbit.

Oct. 13, 2009 – The WISE operational readiness review (ORR) was held Oct. 7 and 8, and the board was unanimous in prising the project for having conducted a successful review. That means WISE is looking good for launch.

Sept. 15, 2009 –NASA article on WISE, "In Search of Dark Asteroids (and Other Sneaky Things)." NASA is set to launch a sensitive new infrared telescope to seek out sneaky things in the night sky -- among them, dark asteroids that could pose a threat to Earth. Read more.

Aug. 11, 2009 – Ball Aerospace engineers have packed the satellite into a shipping container for delivery in mid-August to California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base. WISE is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg in December 2009 aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket into an Earth orbit.

See Ball Aerospace full press release.

May 17, 2009 – The WISE telescope was delivered safe and sound to Ball Aerospace in Boulder, CO from the Space Dynamics Laboratory in Logan, UT. It is now being integrated onto the spacecraft bus.

April 30, 2009 – The WISE payload pre-ship review was held, and the board unanimously concluded that the instrument was ready to ship to Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation in Boulder Colorado for integration and test with the WISE spacecraft.

April 29 – Thermal-vacuum testing of the WISE spacecraft plus payload thermal-mass-dynamic simulator was completed successfully.

April 17 – Final image quality and focus testing of the WISE payload was completed successfully.

April, 2009 – NASA Headquarters has approved the development of an enhancement to the WISE science data processing pipeline called NEOWISE. The NEOWISE enhancements will allow scientists to discover new moving objects such as asteroids and comets with WISE and provide information for follow up observations within days of the WISE observations. We will also create a searchable archive that will enable researchers to see whether WISE observed a particular object even if it is not discovered until years later. These enhancements will significantly increase WISE's solar system science capabilities.

March 31 – Post-vibration testing of the WISE payload functionality was completed successfully.

March 27 – Preliminary results of the WISE solid hydrogen testing were released.  The ground hold time was measured as 52 hours, exceeding the 44 hour requirement and allowing for launch attempts on two consecutive days without cryogenic servicing.  The in flight cryogenic lifetime estimate is 10 months, exceeding the 7 month requirement and allowing for the possibility of a second survey of 50% of the sky.

Jan. 7, 2009 – The WISE team successfully completed payload vibration testing and the payload is now being prepared for solid hydrogen testing

Upcoming Events

Teacher Professional Development Workshops
We hold regular teacher professional development workshops at the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley. These workshops are free and cover a wide range of space science concepts. Check out the workshops webpage to find out more, including what workshops are coming up soon.

Hands-On Universe/NASA WISE Teacher Workshop
Join a team of teachers taking advantage of the opportunity to incorporate the NASA WISE mission (Wide Angle Infrared Explorer) asteroid studies in Physics, Astronomy, and/or Earth Science courses. Check out the workshops webpage to find out more, including what workshops are coming up soon.

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