Korean team develops test equipment for SPHEREx telescope

SEOUL, Aug. 17 (Yonhap) — A team of South Korean scientists has completed the development of key testing equipment for the SPIREX telescope, the world’s first spectroscopic space telescope to be built under the leadership of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Seoul’s Ministry of Science and Information Technology said Wednesday.

The team led by Jeong Woong-seob of the Korea Institute of Astronomy and Space Sciences (KASI) completed development of the cryogenic vacuum chamber for SPHEREx and the transportation and installation of test equipment to the California Institute of Technology in Los Angeles in June, according to the division.

The chamber will allow engineers to test the capabilities of the near-infrared space telescope by recreating simulated space environments. KASI is the only international team involved in the US project, which was launched in 2015. Other participating organizations include Caltech, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and Johns Hopkins University.

NASA plans to launch SPHEREx in April 2025. The telescope will use an all-sky scanning spectrophotometer that will measure near-infrared spectra of 0.75 to 5.0 micrometers while traveling along a sun-synchronous orbit.

The mission is expected to last about 30 months after launch and help scientists better understand the origin and history of galaxies and explore the origin of water in planetary systems.

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