SPICA (Space Infrared Telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics) is an astronomical mission optimized for midand far-infrared astronomy with a cryogenically cooled 2.5m telescope. Its high spatial resolution and unprecedented sensitivity in the mid- and far-infrared will enable us to address a number of key problems in present-day astronomy, ranging from the star-formation history of the universe to the formation of planets.
To reduce the mass of the whole mission, SPICA will be launched at ambient temperature and cooled down on orbit by mechanical coolers on board with an efficient radiative cooling system, a combination of which allows us to have a 2.5m class, cooled (<8K) telescope in space with moderate total weight (~3450 kg). The spacecraft will use a Japanese H3 launcher to achieve a L2 halo orbit, with a 5 year lifetime goal.
The two instruments currently baselined for SPICA are:
- MIR wide-field camera and high resolution (~12 to ~35μm, R~100-28,000) spectrometer (SMI)
- Far-infrared (FIR ~35 to ~230 μm, R~300/3000) imaging spectrometer (SAFARI)
SPICA is proposed as a Japanese-led JAXA-ESA mission together with extensive international collaboration including Canada and USA. The assessment study on the European contribution to the SPICA project has started under the framework of the ESA Cosmic Vision 2015-2025.
ESA has released a Call for proposals for candidate M5 mission concepts. The call can be found here: http://www.cosmos.esa.int/web/call-for-m5-missions
The current launch estimate for SPICA is 2028/29.
Please send any comments or questions to naylor(at)uleth.ca