Orbital built the Far Ultraviolet Spectrographic Explorer (FUSE) satellite for NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center for a mission managed by the Johns Hopkins University. FUSE looked at light in the far ultraviolet portion of the electromagnetic spectrum which is unobservable with other telescopes, with much greater sensitivity than previous instruments used to study light in this wavelength range. The primary investigations undertaken by the FUSE science team were a comprehensive study of the cosmic abundance of deuterium, a rare form of "heavy hydrogen" formed only in the Big Bang; and the hot gas content of our galaxy, the Milky Way, and its nearest neighbor galaxies, the Magellanic Clouds.
The primary questions to be examined by FUSE observations were:
- "What were the conditions like in the first few minutes after the Big Bang?"
- "How are the chemical elements dispersed throughout galaxies, and how does this affect the way galaxies evolve?", and
- "What are the properties of the interstellar gas clouds out of which stars and solar systems form?"
FUSE was launched aboard a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida on June 24, 1999. From 1999 – 2003 observation time on FUSE was shared roughly 50-50 between the FUSE science team and astronomers from around the world selected by NASA. In April 2003, having completed its primary mission, the FUSE project entered an extended phase of operations with continued funding from NASA. In October 2007, FUSE was formally decommissioned.
|Orbit: 741 km circular @ 25°
Launch Mass: 1,360 kg (2,998 lbs) spacecraft plus instruments
Solar Arrays: fixed GaAs
Stabilization: 3-axis, Zero Momentum
Mission life: 3 years
|Mission completed in October 2007 surpassing its 3 year mission design by four years.
Nearly 425 scientific papers have been published in professional astronomical publications based on observations from FUSE
Over 740 other articles such as conference proceedings and popular articles have been published based on FUSE observations
The Johns Hopkins University
The University of Colorado at Boulder
The University of California at Berkeley Canadian Space Agency (CSA)
French Space Agency (CNES)
JHU FUSE Homepage